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The Waiting Sky Hardcover – August 2, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up-After her mother's alcoholism places her best friend's life in jeopardy, anger and confusion spur 17-year-old Jane to take a summer job away from Minnesota, photographing tornadoes for her brother Ethan's chase team. This is the first time she has left her mother, and she is consumed by guilt and struggling with repressed resentment toward Ethan, who she feels abandoned their family years before. She discovers that her mother's claim to have entered a rehab facility is a lie; things come to a head when her mother texts her that she has come to Oklahoma to see her and is waiting at a nearby hotel. Ethan warns Jane not to go, but she winds up stealing the chase team's van in order to get there. The argument that ensues between them results in Jane's finally realizing that she is actually enabling her mother's addiction. Zielin does an excellent job of describing the reversal of roles between a daughter and her parent, and her portrayal of the mother's ability to manipulate her daughter is spot-on. However, the story falls short when, in a brief ending chapter, Jane has come to a swift resolution of her own issues. While the wild weather provides a telling backdrop to Jane's tumultuous emotions, an attempted parallel between her dilemma and that of a chase-team member who is trying to hide a major tornado phobia, and a budding romance between Jane and a rival chase team member add little to the story.-Cary Frostick, Mary Riley Styles Public Library, Falls Church, VA.α(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Compared to the turmoil in her personal life, chasing tornadoes doesn’t seem so crazy to Jane McAllister. After a terrifying traffic accident, caused by her mother’s drunkenness, Jane is sent to spend the summer working with her brother’s storm-chasing team. Away from the burdens at home, Jane struggles to balance her relief and happiness over a blossoming romantic relationship with guilt and worry over leaving her mother. Over the summer, she also works to establish a closer relationship with her brother, whom she blames for abandoning the family when he left for college. Distance doesn’t stop her mother’s emotional manipulation, though, and Jane must decide if she should remove herself from her mother’s vortex. In this powerful read, Zielin deftly pairs the emotional destruction of addiction with the physical destruction of tornadoes, followed by the hope that emerges after the storm has passed. With its strong focus on family and friend relationships, this should find an appreciative audience. Grades 8-11. --Eve Gaus
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (August 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399256865
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399256868
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,300,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a story that hit close to home for me. The struggles Jane faces are so authentic it's utterly heartbreaking. The tornado chasing is fun and exciting, and a neat backdrop to the turmoil within Jane. I was so invested in her journey that I cried when she did as well as plenty of other times. I loved her friend Cat, her brother Ethan and the other TorBros, not to mention Max.

The story is beautifully written. I don't normally like flashbacks, but they fit into the flow of this book perfectly. Everything from setting and circumstance to the characters themselves is brought to vivid life seemingly effortlessly. I couldn't put this book down.

The Waiting Sky is a story of recovery and family with just a smidgeon of romance tossed in. Lara Zielin delivers a superb read!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin follows seventeen year old Jane who is unwilling to admit that her Mother is not healthy enough to care for her because of her alcoholism. Jane is sent to spend the summer with her brother who works as a storm chaser. Jane has to deal with her feelings of abandonment by her brother and her anger that things in her life aren't going the way they should while also traveling the midwest following storms.

This is a fantastic book that puts the reader into the adventurous world of storm chasing. Jane's life is tough and her denial over her mother's ability to remain sober feels real and the relationship between Jane and her brother and the sweet romance is interesting to read. I enjoyed the book and couldn't put it down.

Appropriateness: Jane comes from an alcoholic home and it's tough to read about. There's a bit of a romance but it's not the focus of the story. I recommend this book to readers 13+
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
THE WAITING SKY manages to be an insightful, emotional story about addiction and family dynamics as well as a fun adventure story all at the same time. If you love storm chasing or contemporary stories that deal with subject matters such as alcohol abuse and estranged families, this is the book for you. It's a quick read at just over 200 pages and it will thrill you the whole way through.

Of course, when I popped open the book for the first time, I couldn't help but have flashbacks to a number of years back and the first time I saw the movie, Twister. Two storm chasers are out on the road with their team. (You know chasing deadly tornadoes, just another day in the neighborhood, right?) All the while they are dealing with personal issues as they chase... sometimes simultaneously. In a similar fashion, THE WAITING SKY centers around the storm chasing antics as well as the personal issues of two siblings, Jane and Ethan. Ethan is the storm chaser, Jane is joining him in order to get away from her alcoholic mother and to gather her thoughts about her own future. I could use metaphors here about how the intensity of the chase and their adventures parallels the conflict between Jane and her mother (whom she feels personally and intensely responsible for) but I will spare you. I will say this though: The matters at hand between Jane and her mother are perhaps more destructive than any ol' EF-3 (or greater) that the team might encounter on their travels.

While I understood Jane's situation and loved her as a character, I also found myself annoyed at the blinders she was wearing when it came to the truth about her mother's addiction. She was so obtuse it was mind-boggling! But then again, that's the whole point of the story.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Twister is one of my favourite movies ever. I used to play a game I made up called "Storm Chasers" on the playground as a kid. So when The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin opened up with a quote from Twister, I already knew I was going to love this book.

And The Waiting Sky did not let me down - I loved everything about it. Lara Zielin combines storm chasing with real issues like alcoholic mothers and everything is a metaphor for the other and I just loved the way she tied everything together so beautifully.

The Waiting Sky's storytelling absolutely masterful in the way that Lara Zielin was able to tie it all together so when you were reading on event, you could easily see it back to something to do with Jane's mother. Every thread of the story connected to another and it flowed so beautifully.

And the storm chasing itself was awesome! I loved the rivalry and the betting and all the characters on the Tornado Brothers team. I loved the idea of a group of college and PhD students going around chasing storms in the summertime to test their inventions and...the whole concept of The Waiting Sky was awesome.

Plus, you know, the romance. It was just a sweet side story between Jane and Max that I really liked.

The whole issue with Jane's mother in The Waiting Sky was heartbreaking and realistic. It was so evident how much Jane was struggling with it all and everyone kept trying to help her and it just broke my heart.

I loved the ending of The Waiting Sky. It was exactly what I was hoping for - and I'm not going to lie, I would totally read a sequel to The Waiting Sky.

Essentially, if you're a fan of contemps with masterful storytelling, not to mention lots of awesome and a heavy dose of realistic situations, do not miss The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin.
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