Series: Broken Heartland #1
Published by Independent on 12th December 2013
Sometimes you don’t see the storm coming until it’s too late...
Severe Storm Warning Tip #1:
Be alert to changing weather conditions. Look for approaching storms.
Severe Storm Warning Tip #2:
If you see approaching storms or any of the danger signs, be prepared to take shelter immediately.
Severe Storm Warning Tip #3:
They may strike quickly, with little or no warning.
Situated just outside of Oklahoma City, Calumet County is divided into two drastically different communities: Hope’s Grove and Summit Bluffs. One is the small backward town where dirt roads lead the way to field parties and railroad tracks. And the other, a sprawling suburb where paved drives lead to the landscaped lawns of the wealthy and privileged.
For five teenagers smack in the middle of Tornado Alley, summer is heating up fast. The winds of change are blurring the invisible line that divides the rich and the rural.
One has a secret.
One has a crush.
One has been lying.
One will get caught.
And one might not make it out alive.
They’re from two different worlds…but one summer is about to change everything.
Allow me to catch my breath a little and recover from the emotional tornado that just whipped me up into a frenzy!
I have been aching to read STORM WARNING ever since one of my fave authors whom I’ve discovered this year, Caisey Quinn tweeted about her new YA series with another author whose work I’ve been wanting to read, Elizabeth Lee. My head is spinning right now and I have so much adrenaline flashing through my veins that it’s making me dizzy. My expectations coming into this novel have been completely turned upside down and I truly don’t know which way is up and THAT IS A GOOD THING!
It takes a lot to make me flail and flap and right now I’m like that freaking penguin from Happy Feet slipping and sliding all over the damn place. Sorry for swearing! Is damn a swear? Fuck it! I don’t care…oops!
OKAY! *puts on reviewing cap*…where do I begin? Five teenagers – Kyle, Cami, Cooper, Ella Jane and Hayden find their lives intertwine during one hot, stormy summer in Oklahoma. Kyle and Ella Jane live in the small community of Hope’s Grove and have just had their lives torn apart when their dad leaves and moves in with another woman. Cooper, Kyle’s best friend who’s pined after Ella Jane for years is dealing with family worries. Hayden and Cami, on again off again couple from the privileged Summit Bluffs nearby have called it quits for the summer. Hayden has messed up one too many times and finds himself packed off to Hope’s Grove for the summer to stay with his grandparents and learn the meaning of honest, hard work. Cami, let down once again by her parent’s empty promises, chooses to spend the summer by the pool and hope nobody finds out. Five teens, five lives about to change, who will have their hearts broken and who will be breaking hearts?
I started STORM WARNING straight after yet another “paint by numbers” NA and I was feeling seriously jaded. This book was a breath of fresh air and catapulted me back to those sweet, heady days of overpowering teen love where summer seems like an endless dream and your world is that one person who makes your breath catch in your throat with a simple look.
One thing that impressed me the most was how seamless the writing was. I couldn’t tell that it was two different authors, the story flowed smoothly and the pacing was excellent. With five POV’s I thought I would be overwhelmed trying to keep track but each character’s voice was utterly unique and each owned their story so it was impossible to not get caught up in their emotions and lives while still being able to differentiate my feelings and opinions about each characters’ individual perspective.
My favourite character was Ella Jane, hands down! She was awesome and I want to hang out and get lifestyle tips from this chick. Sassy, brave and capable of immense kindness and wisdom beyond her years, Ella Jane was the POV I looked forward to most. Caught between the affections of two guys, I liked how she made a decision and stuck to it. There was none of the hand wringing and wailing that’s seen all too often in other YA novels, Ej can dish it out and take it too. Hers and Kyle’s family situation is one I’m all too familiar with which strengthened my connection with her.
I honestly thought coming into this story that Cooper would be “my guy” but it was Hayden that I ended up falling for. The cocky little rich boy went through one of the best character developments I’ve come across in a long time and really impressed me with his growth. While I do have a soft spot for Cooper, boyfriend needs his testicles to drop and then we’ll talk 😉 Kyle and Cami were my least favourite characters, I feel that the multiple POV’s meant that I got to know them the least and so my connection with them suffered but I hope that will be rectified in book two!
I loved the insight into Southern Life; it made me ache to spend a summer in America’s heartland and experience the sense of togetherness and love that seems intrinsic to southern culture and life. I felt that I could visualise the picturesque setting perfectly and the gentle breeze and sweet scents of summer wafting though Hope’s Grove accosted my senses every time I thought of the small community and its unforgettable characters. The essence of teenage life was captured perfectly by the authors. The feelings and emotions that overwhelm the characters as they try and make the leap into adulthood whilst still struggling in the grasp of adolescence felt real and expressed with stirring and sometimes brutal emotion.
Speaking of brutal…like the calm before a storm, this story of trust, first loves and family is truly tested as the warnings we got both as characters and readers were brushed aside as we’re caught up in the exhilaration of head over feet love finally makes way for the real storm and the reason for the book’s title becomes chillingly clear.
The last 10% of the story staggered me, to the point where I still feel punch drunk! At first it felt rushed and I was angry when I finished because it seemed like the pacing was off but then it hit me just how perfect it was.
Just like a storm in real life, the speed with which nature takes hold and rips your life apart is mirrored perfectly here. The adrenaline rush as I raced through those last few pages left me lightheaded and positively dumbstruck. I feel like I’m holding my breath, waiting for the storm to pass and wondering just what wreckage will be waiting for me when I open the door to the storm shelter and am greeted by the blinding sunshine and wait for the picture to form. Will it be utter devastation or will there be hope when the winds die down? One can only hope but I’ll be waiting with bated breath until those two evil geniuses put us out of our misery and give us book two! Compelling, emotional and downright wonderful, STORM WARNING was worth the wait!