Jersey Cameron has always loved a good storm. Watching the clouds roll in and the wind pick up. Smelling the electricity in the air. Dancing barefoot in the rain. She lives in the Midwest, after all, where the weather is sure to keep you guessing. Jersey knows what to do when the tornado sirens sound. But she never could have prepared for this.
When her town is devastated by a tornado, Jersey loses everything. As she struggles to overcome her grief, she’s sent to live with relatives she hardly knows-family who might as well be strangers. In an unfamiliar place, can Jersey discover that even on the darkest of days, there are some things no tornado can destroy?
In this powerful and poignant novel, acclaimed author Jennifer Brown delivers a story of love, loss, hope, and survival.
This book made my heart hurt.
Jersey Cameron is a young girl who’s life was ripped away from her when a tornado came through her town and wiped pretty much everything out…including her family. When she’s sent to live with a father she never knew, things just keep getting worst and worst. Living with her father, she can see why her mother wasn’t much of a fan of his. He’s a terrible father, a terrible person even and each day that she spends living with him and his family guts Jersey more and more. When she’s thrown out of that house and moves in with her mother’s parents, she goes through even more emotional turmoil as the story goes on.
I can’t imagine living through a tornado and seeing the devastation that Jersey saw at such a young age. Living through what she survived is bad enough (with her house being blown to bits and all) but then to become an orphan at the same time? Yeah, I get that technically she wasn’t an orphan but her father was never in the picture. Her mother kept him out of picture and for good reason. He was no good for Jersey and I was so sorry that she had to live with him to find that out.
I was beyond furious with her step-father for being too much of a coward to keep Jersey. I was so angry that he was so full of his own grief for his wife and daughter that he didn’t hold the one person left on the earth that his wife treasured and protect her from life, the way that she couldn’t.
Now, as much as my heart went out to Jersey there were times when I became frustrated with her character. She was lonely and she was grieving, I understood all of that but what I didn’t understand was the way that she treated her grandparents when she first got to their house. The way she treated her grandmother, in particular. They were all she had left of her mother and she was all they had left of their daughter. They were all grieving and Jersey’s initial reaction to going to live with them left me wanting to give her a good shaking to wake her up.
This book was a sad one. I connected with Jersey and what she went through. She had a lot of the same thoughts that I did when my Mom died. I cried a bit each time she wrote a new memory down to keep her sister with her at all times and when her stupid step sisters got into her stuff, I wanted to beat them faces in. I thought that Jersey came a long way throughout the course of this book and I thought that Brown did a good job of capturing Jersey’s grief on the page but my frustrations dampened my enjoyment (frustrations with Jersey’s character, with the adults in Jersey’s life) but still, I’m glad that I read this one.
Grade: 3 out of 5