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THE WAITING SKY by Lara Zielin


by Lara Zielin

Age Range: 12 - 18

Pub Date: Aug. 2nd, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-399-25686-8
Publisher: Putnam

A 17-year-old flees her irresponsible, alcoholic mother to summer with her older brother, a tornado researcher.

Jane has grown up with dysfunction, and she is so familiar with it that it’s come to look almost normal. A car accident caused by her mother’s drunk driving, in which her best friend Cat is injured, provides a wake-up call. Jane knows that supporting her mother makes her an enabler, but the guilt she feels when she doesn’t protect the woman is almost unbearable. Under pressure from Cat, Jane joins Ethan in the Southwest, where he’s part of the Torbros, a tornado-chasing team that competes with the better-funded Twister Blisters, another chase team. Ever-so-attractive and attentive Max, an intern for the Blisters, falls for Jane even as she tries to find a way to balance her manipulative mother’s demands against her own emerging sense of self. This is paralleled, less than effectively, against the struggles of one of the Torbros who’s become terrified of stormy weather and longs to leave the tightknit group, but stays because of his loyalty to his brother. Characters and plot are predictable, but Jane’s first-person voice has an attractive ring of truth to it.

Exciting storm scenes may appeal to weather buffs, but there are so many dysfunctional-family books out there that this one feels a bit like a blip on the radar. (Fiction. 12 & up)