From the Publisher
“This fast-paced read will sweep readers along to its powerful conclusion . . . will not disappoint readers who are looking for a thrill.” VOYA, on Eye of the Storm
“A suspenseful science fiction story that keeps the reader engrossed from beginning to end . . . will appeal to both boys and girls.” Library Media Connection, on Eye of the Storm
“A definite contender in the 'strong middle grade' ring. A title that remains in your mind long after you've put it down.” Fuse8, on Sugar & Ice
“Satisfying and likely to have wide appeal.” Booklist, on Sugar & Ice
“Laced with humor and heart . . . an insightful and affecting read.” Booklist, on The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z.
“Plot twists keep readers engaged, and Messner's warm and humorous tone will capture even reluctant readers.” School Library Journal, on The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z.
“Kate juggles a bundle of fairly heavy plotlines as if they weighed no more than a pile of leaves, managing her story with humor and grace.” Writing and Ruminating (Online), on The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z.
VOYA - Jen McConnel
When Jaden Meggs accepted her father's invitation to spend a summer in Oklahoma, she thought she would be spending her time studying meteorology, a passion she had always shared with her brilliant father. But in the not-so-distant future that Jaden inhabits, Oklahoma has become a wasteland, destroyed by brutal tornados. One bright spot in the barren landscape is the campus of Eye on Tomorrow, an elite scientific summer camp sponsored by Mr. Meggs's company, StormSafe. At first Jaden is excited to be conducting her own research; for a brief time, it seems as if science will bridge the gap that has grown between father and daughter since he walked out on the family four years ago. But Eye on Tomorrow may be the biggest lie ever conceived, and Jaden's father appears to be at the very center of the storm. This fast-paced read will sweep readers along to its powerful (if somewhat predictable) conclusion. Jaden is a smart, spunky heroine, reinvigorating the concept of "geek chic" for young readers. The scientific language may be overwhelming to some, but the sinister plot trajectory will keep most readers on the edge of their seats. With a villain who seems impossible to kill, this exciting novel is poised for a follow-up and will not disappoint readers who are looking for a thrill. Reviewer: Jen McConnel
Children's Literature - Peg Glisson
Tween Jaden is spending the summer with her father, whom she has not seen in over four years. He has been in Russia conducting storm research and now lives in Oklahoma in a Storm Safe community with his new wife and infant daughter. Jaden's looking forward to reconnecting with him and studying in the Eye on Tomorrow Summer Camp for the best and brightest young science minds. She quickly makes friends with Risha, Alex, and Tomas but finds herself increasingly uncomfortable around her father. The story is set in the future (late twenty-first century perhaps), when the world is grappling with increasingly devastating storms. The futuristic Placid Meadows is a community which guarantees its residents freedom from storms, while the neighboring farms and small towns are being destroyed by them. Jaden's father is supposedly working on storm dissipation, but she comes to suspect that he is actually, deliberately making storms worse. Filled with excitement and suspense, the last third of the book races through a series of life and death situations. The friends pull together to help each other while the adults are either passive and/or uncomprehending or extremely deliberate, cunning, and dangerous. Messner has created a believable situation, given global warming and the growing severity of storms today. Adults are stereotyped and often polarized, leaving the kids on their own to deal with their fears and suspicions. She includes considerable information about the science of tornadoes, which occasionally drags down the linear plot. Readers willing to keep reading through all the science, especially early on, will have a satisfying survival story and plenty to think about regarding humans' impact on the environment. Reviewer: Peg Glisson
School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Forty years into the future, massive tornadoes threaten lives and property daily. Thirteen-year-old weather-buff Jaden Meggs moves in with her father to attend science camp inside the heart of tornado alley. Her scientist dad has made a fortune developing Placid Meadows, a posh neighborhood that no tornado can touch. After studying tornado behavior at camp, Jaden and her new friends begin to suspect that her father is hiding something. They soon discover that guaranteed safety comes at a high cost, leaving Jaden to decide if uncovering the truth is worth betraying her father. The futuristic community of Placid Meadows—where everyone carries a "data slate" and eats genetically altered fruit—will appeal to science-fiction fans. Multiple deadly storms provide plenty of action and parallel recent news reports about active weather patterns and climate change. While these heart-pounding scenes will be a hit, characters and plot are less developed. Readers know little about major characters beyond their intelligence and obsession with science, and the linear plot has only one focus—to stop the storms. Messner overexplains the science behind tornadoes and meteorology, which further detracts from the story and will leave some readers scratching their heads. Despite the flaws, fans of nonstop action and of S.A. Bodeen's The Gardener (Feiwel & Friends, 2010) and Pam Bachorz's Candor (Egmont USA, 2009) will like this one.—Leigh Collazo, Ed Willkie Middle School, Fort Worth, TX