July 23, 2012
Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner
Jaden lives in a not-too-distant future plagued by monstrous storms. They come up so fast and so frequently that children are no longer allowed to ride bikes, many kids are home schooled and storm shelters can be found every 15 miles along the highway. Museums have been closed down so their treasures can be safeguarded underground and arts performances must be small enough to house everyone in a shelter. In fact, one of the primary functions of the handheld computers that everyone carries with them is to issue storm warnings.
So its a completely different world for Jaden when she goes to spend the summer with her father, a scientist who specializes in storms and tornadoes. She hasn’t seen him in several years and will be staying with him and his new wife and baby daughter. As if that wasn’t strange enough, kids in the town of Placid Meadows not only ride bikes but the littlest ones also chant anti-tornado rhymes on the playground.
Their exclusive community is guaranteed storm-safe — it says so in the paperwork. Jaden can’t believe it until she sees it for herself — a massive storm heading for the community seems to shift directions and head away, building up speed and ferocity as it moves away from her new home.
At summer science camp, Jaden meets some of the local kids, including two boys who live outside Placid Meadows. Where her new home may be safe, the local farmers have been plagued with week after week of storms, more than ever before. Jaden and one of these boys jump at the opportunity to work with the storm simulator and devise ways to use satellites to short circuit storms before they can launch deadly tornadoes.
When none of their simulations works, they decide to collect raw data from a new storm. As they explore the data from various storms, they realize that what they are seeing local duplicates of some of the worst storms in history, storms that have taken place all over the world. It seems that someone has learned to manipulate storms and is sending them toward the local farms.
Girls will be drawn to this book because of Jaden, a smart, spunky heroine who doesn’t take no for an answer. Boys may not be thrilled with the jr. romances (hand holding and a few kisses, nothing more) but they will love the action and the storms. A great choice for any young reader who loves science or adventure.
This book would be an excellent jumping off point for a discussion on scientific ethics and just how much people should mess with nature — the author presents information on genetically modified foods as well as the various information on weather and storms.
A fast moving book sure to pull young readers in and leave them asking questions about how we as a society use our scientific knowledge.