Review: The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin

The Waiting SkyThe Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin

Publication Date: August 2, 2012
Page Count: 224
Format: Hardcover
Published by: Putnam Juvenile
Source: Borrowed from library

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Synopsis From Goodreads:

One summer chasing tornadoes could finally change Jane's life for the better.

Seventeen-year-old Jane McAllister can't quite admit her mother's alcoholism is spiraling dangerously out of control until she drives drunk, nearly killing them and Jane's best friend.

Jane has only one place to turn: her older brother Ethan, who left the problems at home years ago for college. A summer with him and his tornado-chasing buddies may just provide the time and space Jane needs to figure out her life and whether it still includes her mother. But she struggles with her anger at Ethan for leaving home and feels guilty--is she also abandoning her mom just when she needs Jane most? The carefree trip turned journey of self-discovery quickly becomes more than Jane bargained for, especially when the devilishly handsome Max steps into the picture.


I was a huge fan of Storm Chasers on the Discovery Channel, and I was sad when it was cancelled. I would love to be a 'tourist' on a storm chasing adventure, but my husband refuses to go with me. He thinks those guys are crazy! Imagine my surprise when the author revealed that she went on one of these week long storm chasing tours, and that is what inspired The Waiting Sky. How freaking awesome is that?

Tornadoes feature prominently in The Waiting Sky. They are important not only because they can be destructive and deadly, but they are a metaphor for the chaos in Jane's crazy, messed up life. Jane's mother is an alcoholic, and after an accident that hurt Jane's friend, Cat, Jane could no longer deny that her mother was out of control. Cat talks Jane into going to live with her brother, Ethan, for the summer. Jane joins Ethan and his storm chasing co-workers on the road, and helps out by taking pictures for their website.

I enjoyed Jane as a character, and I felt that I could relate to her even though I have never been in her situation. She was a very likable character, and I truly felt sorry for her and the way she had to live. Jane loves her mother, but she is simply too close to the situation and cannot see that she enabling her drinking. The more time that Jane spends with Ethan and away from her mother, the more she realizes how messed up her home life is. Jane must learn to put herself first, and come to terms with her mother's drinking problem.

There were times when I was really mad at Ethan for the way he handled leaving home. I understood that he couldn't deal his mother's alcoholism, but he didn't just leave his mother. He also left his 12 year old sister to deal with the fallout of their mother's drinking. He had no right to turn his back on his little sister and leave her to the mercy of a drunk. Now that Jane is away from their mother, Ethan tries to convince her to stay with him until their mother gets help and stops drinking.

Now, about those tornadoes I mentioned earlier. I really enjoyed reading about the thrill of the chase! Yes, it's scary, but it's also super exciting. I loved all of the secondary characters. You know they're all adrenaline junkies out there chasing mother nature and just daring her to come close, close, closer so they can get a good look. The story felt believable, and there were times when I wished I was right there in the van chasing storms with them!

Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Waiting Sky. I actually wish the book was longer because I loved spending time with the characters and the story. The tornado chases were so exciting! The story does get a bit heavy at times, and also deals with some very serious issues. I highly recommend reading this fabulous contemporary. The story is sweet at times, has a nice dose of romance on the side, and is a quick and easy read.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

1 comment:

  1. I really liked The Implosion of Aggie Winchester by Zielin when I read it a month or so ago. I'm def. interested in reading more from her, but I feel like this one got mixed reviews for much of the reasons you're stating. The way the alchoholism was dealt with. Hmm. Jury is still out...


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