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

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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

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.).
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

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

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781410429933
Publisher:
Gale Group
Publication date:
09/01/2010
Edition description:
Large Print Edition
Pages:
621
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.20(d)

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)

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