The Stormchasers is a powerful contemporary story about a young woman, Karena Jorge, who hasn't seen her twin brother in over twenty years, but has never ceased thinking of him, searching for him. Since Charles is diagnosed with rapid cycling bipolar disorder, she grows up looking out for him. He is so obsessed with storms, their parents can't keep him inside, even during the most dangerous tornadoes. And when he refuses to take his medication, his behavior grows more and more erratic, eerily like the storm patterns he so loves.
After unsuccessful attempts to keep Charles from chasing a "beast" of a storm, Karena joins him. When something goes terribly wrong, they cover up, never telling anyone their deep, dark secret. This haunts Karena all her life, as it bothers them both on Charles's more lucid days.
Charles eventually walks out of the house to chase a storm...and never returns.
Now twenty years later, Karena's still feeling the pain of a recent divorce when she receives a call from a mental institution in Kansas with news that her twin is there. Unfortunately, they release him before she arrives from her home in Minnesota. This near encounter encourages her to start another search for Charles, so she talks her editor into letting her do a feature on stormchasers.
When she joins a group of professional stormchasers, she gets more than she bargains for and ends up in the eye of the tornado with Kevin, her tour guide who is an "Average-Joe" science teacher who had chased storms with her twin. During the tour Karena is forced to face the past and the way it has affected her life.
She finally finds Charles...about the same time that love finds her and Kevin.
What happens when the twins reunite is one of the most exciting twists in this story... But how does her joy in finding Charles effect her budding romance with Kevin? What happens when Charles insists on telling authorities their secret? How does Kevin take it when Karena tells him?
This seems like a bitter, no-win situation, but author Jenna Blum handles it artfully, as only a gifted writer can. Her skill with words and originality of concept make this an interesting, exciting reading adventure; her knowledge of both tornadoes and bipolar disorder make it a remarkable learning experience. In fact, her description is so authentic I felt as though I were stormchasing with them; I even shivered from the cold. I also felt Charles's pain when he was in a manic/depressive state, throwing all those around him into their own personal storm.
Jenna Blum is a brilliant author! The Stormchasers is a brilliant book! An easy five stars...
Reviewed by Betty Dravis, August 8, 2010 Author of "Dream Reachers" (with Chase Von) and other books
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Betty Dravis (bettydravis)
BETTY DRAVIS was born in Hamilton, Ohio, one of seven children of John and Felda Barger. Her natural writing ability was nurtured by a “great Ohio school system, caring teachers, and a loving family.” … more
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Twenty years after her bipolar brother's penchant for chasing tornadoes leads to deadly consequences, Karena Jorge finds out that he has escaped from a psychiatric ward, prompting her to join a band of professional stormchasers in hope of finding her disturbed brother.