Books · REVIEWS

We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun & Susan Mullen

we-are-still-tornadoes

“Hang in there, Baby.”

Growing up across the street from each other, Scott and Cath have been best friends their entire lives. Cath would help Scott with his English homework, he would make her mix tapes (it’s the 80’s after all), and any fight they had would be forgotten over TV and cookies. But now they’ve graduated high school and Cath is off to college while Scott is at home pursuing his musical dreams.

During their first year apart, Scott and Cath’s letters help them understand heartache, annoying roommates, family drama and the pressure to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives. And through it all, they realize that the only person they want to turn to is each other. But does that mean they should be more than friends? The only thing that’s clear is that change is an inescapable part of growing up. And the friends who help us navigate it share an unshakable bond.

This funny yet deeply moving book–set to an awesome 80’s soundtrack–captures all the beautiful confusion and emotional intensity we find on the verge of adulthood…and first love.

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Personal Thoughts:

We Are Still Tornadoes is an epistolary novel about longtime best friends who happen to be at different side of United States but managed to strengthens their relationship through constant communication.

Scott’s and Cath are best friends since they were young. They went to the same school, know each others very well and basically just super close. When Cath went off for college in North Carolina, Scott stays in Maryland to help with the family business while trying to build a career in music. But being miles apart doesn’t stop their friendship. They continue to communicate through letters (as in snail mail hand written letters since the story is set in the 80’s). They share stories, private jokes, playful banters, update each other about what is happening with their lives, about the new friends they met, family issues and more.

The letter format gives the characters a very distinct voice. Though it really helps that the novel is written by two different authors, the letters really made the narration more personal. Scott and Cath not only become accessible but also relate-able even if you are not familiar with the life in the 80’s like them. Reading their letters sometimes feels like snooping to someone’s personal belonging without the worry of being caught. Each letters even the brief ones perfectly captures Scott’s and Cath’s relationship.

Aside from the letter format, I also enjoy the inclusion of song lyrics from Scott’s letters. Those songs added more creativity and open more about Scott’s thoughts and feelings. It proves that he is really a smart guy even everyone is telling him otherwise. Actually even without the songs, readers will know that Scott’s is really smart from his letters alone. He is witty, sensitive, and thoughtful. Reading his letters and Cath’s is not only fun but also insightful at times.

As for the 80’s settings, the dropping of songs and band names that actually exist of at the peak of their career during that era provides the 80’s vibe. Though I’m not familiar with most of them I can still easily provide my own mental images. I don’t get lost or distracted instead I feel more immerse in the story.

Witty, endearing and captivating. We Are Still Tornadoes is a heartwarming story of friendship and a realistic view of two persons transition to adulthood. A quick read that will not only entertain but will also tug readers’ heart.

* This review is based on an eBook I received courtesy of the publisher, St. Martin Press via NetGalley

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