Monday, July 17, 2017

Review: Tornado Weather by Deborah E. Kennedy

Title: Tornado Weather 
Author: Deborah E. Kennedy 
Source: Publisher 
Publisher: Flatiron Books 
Published: July 11th, 2017 
Purchase: Amazon | B&N 

Summary: Five-year-old Daisy Gonzalez’s father is always waiting for her at the bus stop. But today, he isn’t. As the bus driver, Fikus, lowers her wheelchair to the ground and looks around, chaos erupts behind him as one child has an accident and the rest begin to scream. When Daisy says her house is right down the road, she’ll be fine, and begins to wheel herself away, Fikus lets her go. And that's the last time she is seen. 

Nearly everyone in town suspects or knows something different about what happened, if they could only put the pieces together. They also know a lot about each other. The immigrants who work in the dairy farm know their employers’ secrets. The manager of the Laundromat knows who laid a curse on the town and why. A soldier daydreaming of his hometown can see it more clearly than the people still there. And the police officer doesn't realize how much he knows. They are all connected, in ways small and profound, open and secret.

By turns unsettling, dark, and wry, the powerful voices bring the town’s rich fabric to life. Tornado Weather is an affecting portrait of a complex and flawed cast of characters striving to find some measure of fulfillment in their lives. Though the characters’ triumphs are often modest, the hope for redemption is real--and Kennedy brilliantly shows that there is nothing average about an average life.

"One dog yelping at nothing will set ten thousand straining at their collars."
– Japanese Proverb, Tornado Weather 

I’m not exactly sure what I anticipated when I began Tornado Weather, but what I got was so much more than what I imagined. Deborah E. Kennedy’s debut is weirdly wonderful, and it’s so different that it is difficult to know just how to categorize it. It’s one of those books that, to me, shouldn’t be pigeonholed into just one genre. There’s mystery, drama, heartache, racism, and bigotry – but also hopefulness, endurance, and even a bit of psychic phenomena. In other words, I couldn’t put it down.

Colliersville is a small rural town in Indiana that is in decline, verging on poverty in some areas. It’s a place where everybody knows what’s going on with their neighbors, though not everyone is aware of things that go on right under their own noses. When little Daisy Gonzales disappears after getting off the school bus one day, everyone suspects someone different, knows something different, saw something different. So many secrets in one small town… and they’re all about to be spilled.

One story told by many voices makes this a character-driven novel with those characters being so fleshed out I felt as though they would step off the page at any moment. I know some readers may balk at the thought of multiple character POVs, but not once did I struggle to keep up with who was who – mainly because in a small town full of gossip, you’ve heard about them before you ever meet them, but also because it reads more like short stories with one main theme. And then it all comes together brilliantly.

Tornado Weather is dark and gritty at times but hopeful and heartwarming at others, with an incredible and unexpected last chapter that left me emotional in the best way. This is an excellent debut from Deborah E. Kennedy, and I very much look forward to more of her unique storytelling.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
© at A Belle's Tales



  1. Oh my goodness - I felt like this review took ME on a whirlwind ride - LOVE that you gave just enough away to peak interest (mine are 100% peaked) but not everything = leaving us wanting more!!! Brushing off my ole' TBR list, and adding this immediately! :)

    1. Also, it should be noted that my "interest" are plural now.

    2. You have such BIG interest that it must be plural! Lol. Thank you for the kind words. You and I know allll about small towns, even though this small town makes Columbus look like a booming metropolis. This was such an interesting story; there are things that would break your heart, but I do feel that you would love the last chapter. Definitely worthy of the Nyssa list! Love you <3

  2. This sounds interesting and definitely different. I haven't heard of this one, now I am off to research it.

    1. So different, Heidi; but I really enjoyed it! One to add to your list when you're in the mood for something unique.

  3. Wow, I love how you described these characters as so fleshed out they could step out off the page -- that's very impressive!

    1. Thanks, Verushka! It really was. I was very impressed by this debut :)

  4. Books that dont fit into one genre are the best! So glad this was such a hit for you Wifey. Great review!


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