ABC News meteorologist Zee embellishes her debut novel with plenty of accurate weather information.
Thirteen-year-old Helicity (a physics term that means “to spin”) finds herself on the fringe of a devastating tornado that sweeps through her town. Caught up in filming it, she barely escapes, but her older brother, Andy, out looking for her as the storm strikes, is less fortunate. He’s injured, possibly ending a promising football career and leaving their father raging about his potential loss of a scholarship. Helicity, fascinated by weather, attracts the interest of a young female meteorology professor and storm chaser, Lana. Lana has a cute 17-year-old male sidekick named Sam, who too often lets his enthusiasm carry him into danger, breaking Lana’s safety rules. The weather isn’t the only thing that’s extreme in this book. Andy quickly (and predictably) becomes addicted to the pain meds that his ridiculously angry father helps provide. Meanwhile, Helicity, in spite of her age, is implausibly invited to spend the summer storm chasing with Lana and Sam. Default-white cardboard characters who seem to lack any real reason for their behavior move enigmatically through the storm-wracked landscape. The action ramps up nicely toward a conclusion that, disappointingly, leaves nearly all the conflict unresolved, presumably setting up the next in the series. The weather is nicely evoked and fully believable; the trite plot stretches credibility to the breaking point.
This might possibly appeal to readers who are weather-focused. (Fiction. 9-14)