The Waiting Sky hooked me from the moment I saw its cover and read the synopsis! I’ve always been fascinated by storms, and I was obsessed with the movie Twister when it came out in the mid-90s… When I saw that Zielin paired storm chasing with a girl struggling to figure out how to live life for herself when she has an alcoholic mother; I knew immediately that this was a must read for me. I was quickly gripped by this story, and was not disappointed.
I loved Jane, the protagonist, and easily connected with her. Jane is caught up in the chaos of her alcoholic mother and feels stuck. She’s so far into the situation, that she’s not able see the big picture. Ever since her brother Ethan left for college when she was twelve, Jane has taken care of her mother alone. She’s angry with Ethan for leaving, and doesn’t want to abandon her mom, especially when she’s getting worse. She feels responsible for keeping their lives put together.
After a serious accident (caused by her mother) Jane decides to take up her brother’s offer to spend the summer chasing storms with him and the Tornado Brothers. She thought it’d be a fun trip, and a nice break from her mother. She never thought (consciously) that it’d turn into a summer of self-discovery. The TorBros and crew have their own drama and challenges… and after spending so much time with them (and her thoughts) following storm after storm, Jane begins to gain some perspective.
Zielin created a great supporting cast of characters, and I enjoyed getting to know them all. I really liked seeing the brother/sister relationship between Jane and Ethan, and how they interacted. Jane’s best friend Cat is a gem – she’s a source of amazing support, tough love, and encouragement. Each member of the TorBros team was well developed too, and they all had their own story. Max, a member of another tornado chasing team and Jane’s love interest, was swoon-worthy and added just the right amount of romance.
“There’s a fine line between saving someone and helping them destroy themselves”
I think it’s perfect how Zielin used tornados as a metaphor for Jane’s relationship with her mother in The Waiting Sky. I loved the message that you can’t live your life for someone else, and sometimes helping someone means choosing yourself. I appreciated everything about this book – from the characters and family dynamics to the storyline and storm chasing. I can’t wait to read more by Lara Zielin!