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The Stormchasers Hardcover – May 27, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Blum (Those Who Save Us) visits Tornado Alley in this vivid novel about a set of twins with a dark history. At home in Minnesota, Karena Jorge gets an unexpected call informing her that her twin brother, Charles Hallingdahl, whom she hasn't seen in the 20 years since something went very wrong during a storm chase, has been admitted to a Kansas mental hospital. Charles suffers from rapid cycling bipolar disorder, and all Karena knows is that he refuses medication, he can be a danger to himself and others, and he is still obsessed with storm chasing. When she rushes to the clinic and finds he has already left, Karena joins a professional storm-chasing tour company, hoping to find her brother in the caravan of watchers who follow major storms. In the course of the tour, Karena confronts the past and the way it has shaped her life. The unpredictable and dangerous storms provide a framework for an exploration of the bond between siblings (and its limitations), and Blum renders the stormy backdrop as richly as she does her nuanced characters. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Twins Karena and Charles share an unbreakable bond—and a devastating secret. Twenty years ago, 18-year-old Charles, who suffers from bipolar disorder, and his sister were out storm chasing when they collided with a motorcyclist. The two swore to each other they wouldn’t report the deadly incident to authorities; after all, they were legal adults and could do serious prison time. In the years that followed, the siblings disappeared from each other’s lives. Karena pursued a career as a newspaper reporter. Charles endured stints at various mental-health facilities and fed his true passion: chasing storms. (He always said that his mental state was akin to a tornado: terrifying and unpredictable as it spun out of control.) When Karena receives a distressing phone message about Charles, she ventures into the eye of the storm—literally—to find him. Blum (Those Who Save Us, 2005) intertwines two narratives: Karena’s search for Charles (and induction into the wild world of weather) and her recollections of their rocky childhood. The tales work together nicely in this moving, if occasionally overwrought, novel. --Allison Block --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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This author was recommended by an Amazon fellow reviewer on the strength of her debut work, "Those Who Save Us". Page B, thank you. Jenna Blum is a wonderfully gifted author who can make an internal storm feel as vicious as an F4. All the characters, whether the central family or the storm junkies, were interesting and 3D. Although not a storm chaser I learned enough to be savvy with the lingo and insider humour without feeling that I was at a dry college lecture or a kindergartner's primer on storm formation. Storm chasing is way out of my own personal comfort zone (I am a Midwesterner with a basement) but I must admit after finishing the book I checked into Tempest Tours. The storm chasing thread in this book is THAT enthralling. The emotional pull of Karena and Charles' story was just as intense. The storm chasing only accentuated their turbulent relationship.
One of the joys of reading is discovering an author whose work sings to your soul. Jenna Blum sung to mine. I have "Those Who Save Us" on my nightstand and will be seeking out her future books.
Enjoy the read!