Title: The Waiting Sky
Author: Lara Zielin
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release date: August 2nd 2012
Genre: Contemporary YA
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Seventeen-year-old Jane McAllister can't quite admit her mother's alcoholism is spiraling dangerously out of control until she drives drunk, nearly killing them and Jane's best friend.My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Jane has only one place to turn: her older brother Ethan, who left the problems at home years ago for college. A summer with him and his tornado-chasing buddies may just provide the time and space Jane needs to figure out her life and whether it still includes her mother. But she struggles with her anger at Ethan for leaving home and feels guilty--is she also abandoning her mom just when she needs Jane most? The carefree trip turned journey of self-discovery quickly becomes more than Jane bargained for, especially when the devilishly handsome Max steps into the picture.
I've been in a huge reading slump lately. Ever since starting college, I just haven't felt like reading - it's been hard to force myself to be anti-social and just read when my friends are right outside my door. But somehow, The Waiting Sky managed to defy my reading-slumpy ways! There was just something about it that made me want to keep reading forever - I locked myself in my room one night and just read. The Waiting Sky reminded me of why I love reading so much, and it made me enthusiastic about bookish stuff again - for that alone, I want to declare my love for Lara Zielin.
Jane is a great main character - I connected with her so easily. With stories like these, it's easy for me to get frustrated with a character that just won't stand up for herself. But with Jane, it works. Her blindness concerning the seriousness of her mom's issues is understandable - I could have easily gotten annoyed by her insistence on trying to save her mom again and again, but Lara Zielin's writing made it work. The portrayal of Jane's journey towards finally understanding that she cannot solve her mom's problems and that she has to take care of herself more than of her mom is realistic and compelling.
We also have a great supporting cast that adds a lot to the story. I loved reading about the brother/sister relationship between Jane and Ethan. Victor is an ass, but his story is interesting to read about, and I loved the parallels between his situation and Jane's. And Cat, Jane's best friend from back home, is the definition of a kickass best friend - that's the kind of friendship I'd like to see more of in YA!
When I first heard about The Waiting Sky, I was wary of the whole tornado storyline. I thought the TorBros just chased tornadoes for fun and for the thrill of it, which would've bugged me. But they chase them for research; they're collecting data on how and why tornadoes develop, in order to better protect people from them. And that's much more understandable. The tornado sotryline is fascinating, and it adds a lot to the emotional side of things.
And then there's the romance, which is just adorable. We have just the right amount of cute romance - it's always there, but it's subtle, and it never tries to take the main focus from the family story. It stays innocent and sweet, which was really refreshing to read about.
The ending is perfect - bittersweet, hopeful without being unrealistically happy, just the way I like it.
I loved everything about this book! The cover is gorgeous, and the actual book doesn't disappoint. I'm really impressed with Lara Zielin's storytelling and character development - I'll have to check out some of her other books! And of course I'm hoping The Waiting Sky helped me get out of this reading slump. Either way, I definitely recommend it!