Eye of the Storm, by Kate Messner; Walker Books:
New York, 2012; $16.99
Have you ever thought about what the future will hold? My first thoughts have been drastically altered after reading Eye of the Storm, by Kate Messner. It’s the year 2050, and twelve-year-old Jaden Meggs is going to spend her summer at her dad’s house in Placid Meadows, Oklahoma. It’s no coincidence that Stephen Meggs, her dad and famous meteorologist, lives in Placid Meadows, and he created it as the first StormSafe community ever. Because in the future, the weather is extremely different than today. Huge twisters have been causing chaos all over the planet, even making the tornado scale change. But these deadly storms seem to pass right by Placid Meadows every time, making it a huge bargaining point for Jaden to persuade her mother to let her go to Oklahoma to attend the exclusive science camp called Eye on Tomorrow.
With the help of newfound camp friends Alex and Risha, Jaden realizes that something very wrong is going on in Placid Meadows. Suspicions are formed when the data used for the Sim Dome, a simulation system that uses actual wind and buildings to predict how the data will react when faced with the real elements of a storm, fails three times. It was Alex who initially asked Jaden to sneak into her father’s office at the StormSafe compound to get the correct data for their experiment. When Jaden finally carries out the “mission,” they discover a number of things that both shock and scare them. One, Stephen can actually control the tornadoes, and whatever keeps them out of Placid Meadows is a dangerous thing. Two, Jaden’s long-lost grandmother, scientist Athena Meggs, is actually alive after countless years of faking her death. And three, it’s all up to Jaden, Alex, and Risha to stop the biggest storm yet from destroying everything.
Although I have never faced down a tornado or gone to an elite science summer camp, last summer my family and I went on a vacation to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, where we perched as high as the birds in our cabin. Multiple thunder and lightning storms occurred during our stay, and they were always a treat to watch from the safety and comfort of the living room couches—and always with a fire flickering in the fireplace. While witnessing the sheer beauty of crackles of lightning and thunderous, earthshaking booms of thunder from less than a mile away, I was struck with the same feeling that Jaden and her family must have had: while within the gates of Placid Meadows, you were completely safe. But somewhere out there, a tornado was raging, destroying farms, homes, and countryside mercilessly. I also thought about climate change while reading this book. I am concerned that if we do not do something to protect our planet from the potentially disastrous effects of climate change, Jaden’s story might become our reality. I learned from Jaden and her experiences that not only is it necessary to act when something is very wrong, but also that one of the most valuable tools a person can possess is their friends.
I would recommend Eye of the Storm to anybody who likes action, a sprinkling of science and technology, and, most importantly, a good read. This is a book of discoveries, friendship, and loyalty. Reading it showed me that, with determination, anything can be accomplished.