Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Stormchasers by Jenna Blum

Karena Jorge is a successful reporter; most people would love to have her life.  But she is thirty-eight and has no outside life; no husband, no lover, no children.  Her father is in a nursing home and she doesn't have a relationship with her stepmother, dubbed The Widow.  Strangest of all, she hasn't seen her brother in twenty years.  Her brother, the person she was closest to her entire childhood and teenage years, her twin.

Then a phone call changes her life.  A hospital calls to inform her that her brother was admitted.  Charles has been living under the radar since his family had him admitted to a mental hospital when he was eighteen after a suicide attempt.  He is bipolar; his obsession tornadoes.  He lives as a stormchaser, moving from town to town to witness their fury.  Off-seasons he works a series of cash jobs to finance his obsession.

Karena is determined to find him this time and have him back in her life.  She joins a stormchaser tour group as a reporter and follows them on a journey to find storms.  These aren't Karena's first storms; being Charles's sister meant that she had experienced others.  But she was terrified then and the experience hasn't changed for her with one exception.  She is drawn to one of the tour leaders, Kevin. 

Jenna Blum has written a compelling story of what it means to be a sibling; what we owe to our family and how much we should be willing to sacrifice for them.  The reader learns much about the people who are stormchasers and what draws them to focus on such a dangerous activity.  Readers also explore the meaning of being bipolar and what effect it has on those around one with the disorder.  This book is recommended for all readers.

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