The Stormchasers

The Stormchasers

3.7 40
by Jenna Blum
     
 

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The author of the runaway New York Times bestseller Those Who Save Us returns with a powerful novel about twins who must confront a dark secret from their past.

Jenna Blum's debut novel became a grassroots sensation and was a New York Times bestseller for more than a year. In this emotional and provocative new novel, Blum asks the

Overview

The author of the runaway New York Times bestseller Those Who Save Us returns with a powerful novel about twins who must confront a dark secret from their past.

Jenna Blum's debut novel became a grassroots sensation and was a New York Times bestseller for more than a year. In this emotional and provocative new novel, Blum asks the question: How far would you go to protect a sibling-and at what cost to yourself?

As a teenager, Karena Jorge has always taken care of her twin brother, Charles. Obsessed with severe weather, Charles, who suffers from bipolar disorder, begins chasing storms. Refusing to take his medication, Charles soon involves them both in a terrifying tornado chase-with deadly consequences.

Now, two decades later, Karena must find her long-estranged brother before he reveals the dark secret from their past or hurts himself-or someone else. But there is only one way to find him: the storms...

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The outer landscape of Tornado Alley and the inner terrain of sibling devotion are brought vividly to life in Jenna Blum's new novel, a powerful story that reminds us that love is always a pursuit - one that demands, over and over again, that we put ourselves in harm's way."
-Stephanie Kallos, author of Broken for You and Sing Them Home

"I could not put down Jenna Blum's tornado of a novel about the secrets we keep from even those we love the most. Her heroine, Karena, is a fearless and fascinating companion on one hell of a ride."
-Amanda Eyre Ward, author of How to Be Lost and Love Stories in this Town

"Jenna Blum's novel, The Stormchasers, is an emotional rollercoaster of a story, the constant being Jenna's incredible descriptions of the beauty and awe of the most powerful natural force. The parallels Jenna draws between tornadoes and the human condition is genius and makes for a must-read novel."
-Reed Timmer, star of Discovery Channel's Storm Chasers.

"A somber, effective portrait of twins [and] a meticulous portrait of bipolar disorder and the heartbreaking damage it does to those it affects. . . . Beautifully rendered. . . . A strong second novel."
-Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Blum (Those Who Save Us) visits Tornado Alley in this vivid novel about a set of twins with a dark history. At home in Minnesota, Karena Jorge gets an unexpected call informing her that her twin brother, Charles Hallingdahl, whom she hasn't seen in the 20 years since something went very wrong during a storm chase, has been admitted to a Kansas mental hospital. Charles suffers from rapid cycling bipolar disorder, and all Karena knows is that he refuses medication, he can be a danger to himself and others, and he is still obsessed with storm chasing. When she rushes to the clinic and finds he has already left, Karena joins a professional storm-chasing tour company, hoping to find her brother in the caravan of watchers who follow major storms. In the course of the tour, Karena confronts the past and the way it has shaped her life. The unpredictable and dangerous storms provide a framework for an exploration of the bond between siblings (and its limitations), and Blum renders the stormy backdrop as richly as she does her nuanced characters. (May)
Kirkus Reviews
A somber, effective portrait of twins-of the strength they gain and the harm they do to one another. Karena hasn't seen her twin Charles in 20 years, since he was 18 and briefly committed to a psychiatric ward for his bipolar disorder. Now on their birthday, it seems both surprising and perfectly natural that she should receive a call from a mental-health clinic in Kansas. After years of trying, she has found Charles, the joyous other half of herself, and also the source of her guilt. She leaves Minneapolis the next day but is crushed to discover he's checked himself out. As Charles is a lifelong stormchaser (in fact his published photographs of tornados are the only evidence Karena has had over the years that he's still alive), Karena decides to join a storm-chasing tour. A staff reporter for a Minneapolis paper, Karena uses the story she is writing about summer stormchasers as a cover to question everyone she meets for information on Charles. Along the way Karena begins a relationship with Kevin, one of the tour operators, who was once close friends with Charles but, like Karena, was banished when Kevin had Charles hospitalized for dangerous behavior. Kevin and Karena survive an almost fatal storm, and just as the tour ends, there's a miracle at the end of the rainbow-Karena finds Charles, who was close by all the time (in fact, during his 20-year absence he has kept tabs on Karena) and ready to go home. The narrative steps back to their 18th birthday and the events that drove them apart-his mania and suicidal depression, a storm, an accident, a murder, a guilty secret that has haunted them for 20 years. Charles' storminess (he imagines his illness like a storm, a natural, neutralphenomenon) is beautifully rendered-Blum offers a meticulous portrait of bipolar disorder and the heartbreaking damage it does to those it affects. A strong second novel from bestseller Blum (Those Who Save Us, 2004, etc.).
Library Journal
Thirtysomething Minnesota newspaper reporter Karena Jorge is on a mission to Tornado Alley, ostensibly on assignment to cover a storm-chasing tour group but in reality on a quest to find her twin brother, Charles Hallingdahl, who is bipolar and has just been released from a Kansas hospital. Charles has been chasing storms of one form or another for the 20 years that Karena has been searching for him, ever since an unspeakable tragedy drove him away from home when they were 18. Karena knows that following the storm chasers is her best hope of finding him again. But she didn't know that she would fall for tour guide Kevin Weibke along the way or that he would have his own history with Charles. Mystery, romance, and adventure blend well in this meticulously researched tale. The author's use of the present tense for the main narrative and the extensive flashback can be unnerving and serves little purpose, but the pace and dialog are breezy enough by midpoint to carry the reader along. This is an honest depiction of mental illness told with all the pain, humor, hubris, and guilt that the "healthy" sibling bears. VERDICT Undiscriminating women's fiction fans and those with a special interest in extreme weather should welcome Boston resident and creative writing instructor Blum's second novel (after Those Who Save Us). [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/10.]—Jenn B. Stidham, Houston Community Coll.-Northeast, TX

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780452297135
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/26/2011
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
746,411
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Reed Timmer
“Jenna Blum's novel, The Stormchasers, is an emotional rollercoaster of a story, the constant being Jenna's incredible descriptions of the beauty and awe of the most powerful natural force. The parallels Jenna draws between tornadoes and the human condition is genius and makes for a must-read novel.”--(Reed Timmer, star of Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers.)
Stephanie Kallos
“The outer landscape of Tornado Alley and the inner terrain of sibling devotion are brought vividly to life in Jenna Blum's new novel, a powerful story that reminds us that love is always a pursuit - one that demands, over and over again, that we put ourselves in harm's way.”--(Stephanie Kallos, author of Broken for You and Sing Them Home)
Amanda Eyre Ward
"I could not put down Jenna Blum's tornado of a novel about the secrets we keep from even those we love the most. Her heroine, Karena, is a fearless and fascinating companion on one hell of a ride."--(Amanda Eyre Ward, author of How to Be Lost and Love Stories in this Town)

Meet the Author

Jenna Blum is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Those Who Save Us. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts, and teaches creative writing.

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The Stormchasers 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Amysmithers More than 1 year ago
This book was so bad I did not even finish it. when I say bad I mean that the story was ridiculous and the characters were emotional twits. This book was a big disappointment to me after reading "those who save us". I expected a more mature read from this author.
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
This is a story about a brother and sister that are twins, Karena and Charles. Charles suffers from rapid cycling bipolar disorder. They have not seen each other for 20 years when Karena receives a call from a mental hospital in Kansas telling her they have admitted her brother. She rushes to the hospital only to learn that he had been released and the doctor there knew nothing about his bipolar disorder. Charles has always been obsessed with tornadoes, even when they were children. He has been taking off and chasing storms his whole life. He went missing after a terrible accident that occurred when he and Karena were chasing a storm. It is prime storm season and Kansas is in the part of the United States known as "Tornado Alley". If she is ever going to find her brother now is the time. She signs on with professional storm chasing tour group under the guise of her real job as a journalist writing a story about storm chasing. She hopes she will find her brother while touring with this group and get him the help her really needs. I was so psyched about this book. I loved the first part, learning about chasing the storms and the part where they actually got caught up in one and witnessed the aftermath. After that this book became very disjointed for me and a bit repetitive. It starts out in 2008, then goes back to the twins past, then back to 2008 and then ends with an epilogue in 2009 to tie everything together. Written this way the story seems to lose the natural flow, some of the relationships seem forced and not believable. The ending seems rushed and again unbelievable. It seems people either loved this book or feel like I do. This is my first Jenna Blum book and this may be her writing style and it just isn't "my cup of tea. The premise is very good and seemed well researched but I would recommend that unless you are a true fan of this author, this would be a good library pick, not one to rush out and purchase. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Plume Books, a division of Penguin Publishing . I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this after devouring Jenna Blum's first book, "Those Who Save Us. " This book was just as mesmerizing and hard to put down. Great characters and story about the relationship between twins; one who is bipolar. I wish there were more books by Blum!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved Jenna Blum's first novel, For Those We Saved", so I looked forward to reading her second novel. Liked it but wasn't the same caliber as her first book. The characters were interesting but kind of shallow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While not as gripping as Those Who Save Us, Stormchasers was a well written novel with excellant characters and a believable plot. Enjoyed it immensely!
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Merritt smith More than 1 year ago
I wish she had a whole library filled with books. I love her style and her stories. Excellent!
Lauren817 More than 1 year ago
The Stromchasers has been in my TBR pile for a while. However, recently I decided to give it a chance, and boy, was I surprised at the final product, because not only was it fully unique and enthralling, but it presents a complex sibling bond- one that I have never quite seen before. The Stromchasers opens up the day of Karena Jorge's birthday. For Karena, birthdays have never been the cheeriest time of the year, not only because of the fact she's getting older, but because she's reminded of what she lost all those years ago- her twin brother Charles. However, this birthday is different, because with one single phone call, Karena knows the location of her brother for the first time in years, and it seems he wants her to come after him. With this, she leaves and begins a path like no other- one filled with deadly storms, figuratively and metaphorically, a possible chance at love and redemption, and the chance to make everything good again with her brother. However, what happens when a problem of the past comes into view again? Will it leave Charles and Karena farther apart than ever before, or will it bring them closer together? Only time and more pages can tell in this fascinating tale of twins, love, and disease in their best and worse. With The Stromchasers came several memorable aspects and one of those was the characters. Complex, interesting, and distinctive, Jenna presented each in a notable way. However, the most interesting out of then would have to be Karena and Charles, not only because of their fascinating bound, but because these two were the ones who had so much to gain as well as loss. With Karena and Charles also came feelings that continually rocketed over the page, making the reader feel for them, even when they were not exactly likable. Furthermore, the plot in this was also absorbing. I enjoyed the focus on storm chasers, because not only is what they do thought-provoking and dangerous, but it also lead to many thrilling moments in the book, as storms truly represented the trouble that had plagued the characters over their lives with the beauty and the horror. It was interesting and I loved every moment of it. The romanced subplot between Karena and Kevin was also a high point, because it lead to Karena to find yet another missing puzzle piece of her life. Better yet, as I mentioned before, I loved the focus on siblings and the bonds between them in this, and with the fact that Charles was bipolar made it even more interesting. Lastly, Jenna Blum's writing reached the amount of wealth the characters and storylines had. Truly, she did such a fantastic job of getting the emotions of the characters down and with making the bipolar aspects of Charles's character real and relatable. Better yet, I loved the ending she gave. It was not picture perfect, instead it left off in a place where it could really go any which way and I loved that because life isn't picture perfect. Beguiling, unique, and startling, Jenna Blum's The Stormchasers is one novel you simply cannot miss! Making things even better, it is now available in paperback! Grade: A-
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
anovelreview_blogspot_com More than 1 year ago
Karena Jorge, a reporter celebrating her 38th birthday. It's on her birthday; she can't help but admit her feelings of emptiness as she longs to be with her twin brother, Charles. She hasn't seen her twin in more than a decade and has no idea where he is. As she blows out the candles on her birthday cake, it's no wonder she wishes to reconnect with him. Later that night, Karena believes her wish came true when a hospital calls looking for Charles next of kin. She takes off in hopes of finally reconnecting with Charles, her storm chasing twin who suffers from bipolar disorder. Sadly, he has left the hospital before she gets there. Having missed him once again she decides to follow 'his' work by taking a storm chasing tour in hopes of finding him. As Karena sets off on her odyssey to bring him home, she is forced to confront the storm that separated the twins and she realizes she must go through the storm if she ever wants to find the rainbow that awaits her on the other side. I personally loved reading all the information about storms and how the storm cashers go after them. I one of those people who when the tornado sirens go off.I run outside to see if I can anything. I felt this first part of the book gave a lot of story, but I really didn't feel any real connection to the story. I didn't really get the why Karena was so determined to find her brother (I mean yes; he has a disorder and wants to see him safe). When I hit part two of the story I was hooked. Part two takes you into the twins past. I really understood Karena on a whole new level. I just was so engaged in what was going on. I felt so many emotions-moments where I was holding my breath. The story goes from a story about twins with one having bipolar and the other one being responsible for the other, to a story with a deadly situation. I was so impressed with Blums' writing causing me to feel such a range of emotions. Part three is back to present day. I felt like I was waiting for a storm to blow-up, and Blum delivered! Karena has spent the last twenty years of her life running from a storm so big, so intense.and it's finally come for her. A gripping novel bringing a face to bipolar and showed how an entire family is impacted over a lifetime when one member is diagnosed with it. For me, I found I enjoyed the book the more and more I read. It was really in the second half where I could connect to Karena and that was a huge turning point for me. I loved the range of emotions the three main characters go through even though we only see them through Karena's perspective. For me, The Stormchasers is a novel you read and then take the time to savor. Definitely a great read and I will be looking forward to reading more by Jenna Blum!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Regis_Schilken More than 1 year ago
The Storm Chasers by Jenna Blum In an attempt to locate her manic brother whom she has not seen for twenty years, Karena joins a Storm Chasers Club. Members of one of this unique group loves storms, any storms, but in particular, tornadoes. When storm conditions appear imminent on computer screens and via the news media indicating that opposing wind patterns might develop into their cyclic tornado funnels, thrill-seeking storm chasers hunt down these damaging, often life-taking, twisters. Karena, however, is not a genuine club member. She has tagged along with the Storm Chasers because her brother, Charles, had always loved the horrific storms. Rather than search for him in any normal way, Karena knows Charles is out there somewhere in "tornado alley" because as a child, he could not get enough of the dramatic twisters. He had studied them through library books, pictures, and most recently, through dramatic television footage and his computer. Karena's brother Charles is a wanderer. He has no real home or purpose. He more or less lives out of his automobile in any place flat and conducive to the vertical intersection between two dynamic wind masses. He eats what he is offered, and during the months when tornadoes are not so active, Charles takes simple jobs to earn enough for gas mileage and lodging. During early childhood, Karena felt responsible for Charles. Why? Charles is her twin. Karena wonders why she is not an afflicted manic like her brother; afterall, they shared the same embryonic sac for precisely the same amount of time. Still, she has some symptoms of daily melancholia: bouts of depression each day during the time when daylight is resolving thru dusk. Karena has always taken care of her brother. Sister and brother share a deadly secret. Twenty years ago during one of Charles' automobile rides into the savagery of a storm, he drives wildly to keep up with the cycling winds. His sister immediately recognizes his manic high but does nothing to control it. Unintentionally, a lone cyclist thuds into the side of their car, loses control of his bike, and is sliced along the ground as if against coarse sand paper to his death. Karena tricks her brother into committing himself into a mental facility, fearful about his moods and seeking her own freedom. Why does Karena seek to find Charles after twenty years? Does she feel pent up guilt after twenty years? Is she equally responsible for the savage accident after twenty years? And, if she does find her twin, is it too late to undo their lawful punishment for leaving the scene of such a deadly accident twenty years ago? I would highly recommend The Storm Chasers for several reasons. Jenna Blum has already proven her innate ability to write. Her first book, Those Who Save Us, is a 5-star treasure which I've never forgotten. This second book of Blum's shows an enormous understanding of what it means to be manic, and what it means to become truly emotionally involved with a manic kin. The characters in this book are well developed, particularly Charles' and Karena's who at one and the same time love one another, yet can never share whatever the chemical imbalance that tips the scale to set off a psychotic incident for Charles. This is a book for everyone. You will ride inside the storm of emotional tornadoes and the ghastly wrath of the real tornadoes seeking to tear you asunder. Read it-it surely will not disappoint.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 2008, Gail Nelson of the Wichita Medical Center Mental Health Clinic calls Minneapolis Ledger reporter Karena Jorge and tells her that her bipolar twin brother, Charles Hallingdahl was admitted to the hospital due to rapid bipolar disorder mood swings; he refuses medication. She has not seen or heard from her sibling except for photos of Tornado Alley storms in two decades as he left home when they were eighteen following a tragedy. She has searched for him since while he searched for the next storm. Karena rushes from Minneapolis to Kansas, but the next morning after the call, Dr. Brewster tells her that Charles is gone. She joins the Stormchasers brigade that travels Tornado Alley while praying she finds her brother before he does something harmful to himself and others. She is attracted to storm tour guide Kevin Weibke, but is ignorant that he and Charles share a history. This is a terrific family drama that uses storms as a metaphor for what happened twenty years ago and for what occurs inside Charles' head. The romantic suspense mystery story line captures the reader's attention from the moment hospital liaison Nelson calls and never slows down as several subplots past and present are explored though at times the flashbacks can be distracting. The Stormchasers is an engaging look at the story nature of people and relationships. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I throughly enjoyed her previous book, "Those Who Saved Us" and the historical context that she used, Stormchasers falls short of bringing the reader in. While the reader feels for Karena and her brother Charles, whose mental illness is a drain on those around him, this same feeling comes across to the reader. It becomes a chore to turn the page, as the same emotions go on and on and on. While I believe she could have used descriptive language to get the emotions of this mental illness across, after a while, it becomes tedious to get pass the foul language that Jenna Blum seems to use with such abundance. If this is your type of reading, then by all means enjoy. Otherwise I would skip this particular book and find one that can tell a story that is much fuller and complex.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you're a Stormchaser enthusiast, then I'm sure you'll enjoy this book tremendously. Although I felt it was well written, I didn't enjoy the storyline of Stormchasing, and it wasn't until I was 2/3rds into the book, that I became drawn into the central character, her brother, Charles.
chera_federle More than 1 year ago
Miss Blum has done it again.she has taken me on yet another emotional journey with her vivid, flowing way of storytelling . in Stormchasers we are gently careened into the life of Karena Jorge, a journalist who has not seen her twin brother Charles in twenty years. Charles suffers from bipolar disorder. On their birthday-eve, Karena gets an unexpected phone call that sets her on a course to find Charles within his realm of storm chasing, where she finds love and understanding in Kevin. We are then cast into the memory of the secret that has kept them apart for so long. What can I give other than great praise for this story .vivid, witty; an emotional web of brilliance. In the midst of the storms (actual and inner), you become the characters; feeling the need and want of each. The story is filled with great dialogue, mainly Charles . he has wonderful dialogue .his voice brings you into his disease, giving you a close-up glimpse of this disorder, often rabid and vile, yet innocent and sincere enough to want to hold his hand through it all. ".When you get scared for no reason. Then it gets worse. Everything is - tilted. All the surfaces are untrustworthy. All the familiar things seem hostile, and nothing is safe.That's this tarry, oozy place that traps me and holds me while my brain is raked over and over with a comb made of knives." One of my favorite passages reflects the many rumbles held within the bindings of The Stormchasers: "Karena has always heard tornado survivors say the sound of a tornado is like a train.People must say this because a train is a noise that can be felt with one's feet, in the stomach, as it rumbles closer." No explanation needed . this is the truth of how negativity affects the soul . destroying everything in its path. I have also read Those Who Save Us by Blum; it is obvious that she takes the time to invest in all of her characters before placing pen to pad, therefore, we as readers become invested as well. . again, Bravo, Jenna Blum! Bravo! Can't wait to see what comes next.
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