Title: We Are Still Tornadoes
Author: Michael Kun & Susan Mullen
Synopsis: 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.
Huge thank you to Raincoast/St. Martin’s Griffin for this ARC!
I remember hearing about We Are Still Tornadoes at one of the the Raincoast #TeenReadFeed events, and it sounded intriguing to me. It is a novel about a friendship in the 1980’s, and it’s entirely told in back and forth letters. I loved that concept, so when I got the chance to read it, I was immediately draw to how much this narrative style worked for me.
First of all, this is a friendship novel through and through. Scott and Cath have such a beautiful friendship, and they know how to call each other on crapola just as much as they know when to console each other. I also love that we don’t know the events in between letters because we only get a sense of what information is important based on what is told in the letter. It’s a very limited POV, but it works really well in this story because the authors give you just enough information every time to put together the details that aren’t being said.
But seriously, Cath and Scott are adorable. I loved their interactions and I loved how they describe the other people that exist in their lives, particularly Cath’s roommate Dorothy, who was both batty and really hilarious. The whole cake incident alone kinda had me in stitches. I also loved Scott’s dream of wanting to be a musician and I loved the original titles to his songs and I love how his lyrics always came from a deeply personal place. I loved Cath’s constant encouragement, and even when she was mad at him, she would always be able to forgive him because that is how much their friendship means to her.
I also loved the 80’s references! I loved that Scott thought Freddie Mercury was straight (so wrong!), and how “Billie Jean” was one of Cath’s favourite songs. These little touches remind you of a world without e-mail, without instant communication, and it reminds you of a simpler time. I used to send letters to my friends all the time, and it was always such a treat getting a hand-written letter in the mail. Scott’s responses to getting letters — that was totally me when I was his age getting letters in the mail. It’s like Christmas!
And we need more stories like this in YA. Books that showcase friendship as a focal point. While I predicted the ending and was kinda hoping it wouldn’t go the direction it did, I still think We Are Still Tornadoes is a wonderful, quick little read that packs quite the punch given how short it is.