Rated Reads

We Are Still Tornadoes

by Michael Kun

Rated: High

By Michael Kun and Susan Mullen

Cath is off at college at Wake Forest for her freshman year and her best friend, Scott, is still back home where he’s always been, living across the street. He didn’t push himself to do much in high school, so he’s just helping his dad run the family men’s clothing store. He feels left behind because almost all their friends are at college, leading new lives. Cath supports him from afar as he starts a band and considers getting back together with his old girlfriend. He supports her as she navigates having a quirky roommate and dating a couple of guys. But both end up facing far bigger concerns that involve their families, and they write about those and sometimes make phone calls and visit each other.

The book is set in 1982-1983, so there are references to that time, particularly the music, like the new bands and albums that come out, and the reminder that there was no email and “long-distance” phone calls cost money.

This book is solely in the form of the letters Scott and Cath send to each other, and while the epistolary format may or may not be the reason, I just didn’t get into this story. I didn’t care much about them, except in a few spots where life got pretty tough, and never felt I was immersed in the tale, which is what you want from a good book. I felt I was being made to read some teenagers’ letters, and it wasn’t entertaining.

Rated: High, for a solid 15 to 20 uses of strong language, references to plenty of underage drinking, and references to sex but no details.

* I received an advanced reader’s e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for about 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • We Are Still Tornadoes
  • by Michael Kun
  • Rated: High
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: