It’s been more than 50 years since a tornado tore through a drive-in movie theater in tiny Mercer, Illinois, leaving dozens of teens — a whole generation of Mercerites — dead in its wake. So when another tornado touches down in the exact same spot on the anniversary of this small-town tragedy, the town is shaken. For Brenna Ortiz, Joshua Calloway, and Callie Keller, the apprehension is more than just a feeling. Though they seem to share nothing more than a struggle to belong, the teens’ paths continue to intersect, bringing them together when they least expect it, and perhaps, when they need it most. Both the living and the dead have secrets and unresolved problems, but they may be able to find peace and move forward–if only they work together.
We Speak in Storms was a book I picked up at the recommendation of Alana @ The Bookish Chick. I’m forever grateful for all of the book recommendations she sends my way. I loved this book. The cover pulls you in first, the colors of the storm contrasting with the colors in the field. I’m obsessed with this cover.
Then you open it up and the story sucks you right in. We follow three characters, the outsiders. Brenna is Latina in a small town that finds her too different. But her family considers her not Latina enough. She considers herself an in-between girl and hides herself among the other kids in her school that purposefully make themselves seem different. I really liked Brenna and her journey to accepting herself. Dot really helped Brenna see that she needed to embrace what makes her different and to get back to doing the things she loves.
Joshua was my favorite though. He’s a fat, queer kid that used to be bullied, but since coming out is more invisible than anything else. He has a mostly good relationship with his mom and sister and a not so good relationship with his stepdad. It was really heartwarming to see the changes in his confidence and the rest of his life with the help of Luke. I found Joshua and Luke’s interactions the ones I wanted more of. I didn’t think there was enough. Luke mostly just told him to not let anyone get him down.
Then, Callie. Her mom is dying and Callie might as well be dying too with the way she is acting. She doesn’t eat, doesn’t interact with her friends. She’s going through the motions in an attempt to not feel the huge emotions that revolve around knowing her mother will die soon. Enter Ellie. She’s a wise older woman that knows just how to help Callie deal with the loss she’s about to go through.
The way these visitors came back to mentor the three main characters was honestly so heartwarming. I loved the mystery at the beginning of the tornado and who these new people were. I loved Callie, Joshua, and Brenna coming together and forming an unlikely friendship. I loved the atmosphere of the small town they lived in. Their problems were huge and real. This was a book about the ‘different’ kids learning how to be happy with what made them different and I loved every page of it. There was a mystery and a little bit of spookiness and it was perfect.
“Did death scare him? Had he been afraid of how much he wanted to live?”
“Mistakes help us figure out who we are becoming.”
“It was comforting to think the universe was so big that Brenna could find a place where she didn’t have to wear her shell, where she didn’t have to perform, or shut off parts of herself.”
“There’s such sweetness is ordinary, in the calm before a storm.”
“But our stories, our coming out, they belong to us.”
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.