The Stormchasers by Jenna Blum
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 369 (paperback)
Resources: Author's' Website | Facebook
From the Backcover:
As a teenager, Karena Jorge always took care of her twin brother, Charles, who suffers from bipolar disorder. Obsessed with the weather and enraptured by its unpredictability that seems to mirror his own impulses, Charles grows increasingly unstable, until Karena finds herself caught between her loyalty for her brother and fear for her own safety. When a terrifying storm chase with Karena ends with deadly consequences, the twins are torn apart, and Karena's life is changed forever. Two decades later, Karena is forced to confront the dark secret from her past and track down her estranged brother before he does further damage to himself or to someone else. She embarks on an odyssey that will test the strength of their sibling bond and give her an unexpected chance at love and redemption.
This story follows two sibling though the ups and downs of life when one that you care about suffers from a destructive disorder. I've read and enjoyed Jenna Blum before and I really admire how well-written her works are. The story is told in parts: present and then a peep at the past. The science of tornadoes and information about the chasers are enlightening but not overwhelming.
I didn't want to love this book but I couldn't help it. In fact, my paperback copy no longer looks like new because I was gripping and bending it as I was reading it. I felt like I was there and felt the gamut of emotions that accompanies that feeling. As I followed Karina and Charles through the roller-coaster that is their relationship, I felt just as invested. I love how realistic this novel is. While there isn't a cliffhanger, it doesn't have a neat ending. I loved everything about these characters and I'm not sure what I would have done in their place. I had a bipolar student in one of my classes and as I read this novel, I realized how little I understood this disorder. If anything, I minimized it and that sticks with me a bit.
This is another instance of a book that I would initially shy away from as too serious but at the end I couldn't believe it was over.
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