Still Life With Tornado

Still Life With Tornado

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Sixteen-year-old Sarah can't draw. This is a problem, because as long as she can remember, she has "done the art." She thinks she's having an existential crisis. And she might be right; she does keep running into past and future versions of herself as she wanders the urban ruins of Philadelphia. Or maybe she's finally waking up to the tornado that is her family, the tornado that six years ago sent her once-beloved older brother flying across the country for a reason she can't quite recall. After decades of staying together "for the kids" and building a family on a foundation of lies and domestic violence, Sarah's parents have reached the end. Now Sarah must come to grips with years spent sleepwalking in the ruins of their toxic marriage. As Sarah herself often observes, nothing about her pain is remotely original—and yet it still hurts.
Publisher: ** E-Book // Click on DOWNLOAD link to place holds
ISBN: 9781101994894
Branch Call Number: EBOOK TEXT
Alternative Title: OverDrive


From Library Staff

Booklist Editors' Top Choice for Youth Fiction 2016

Best Youth Fiction

•On sale October 11

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Nov 20, 2017

I just finished reading this novel for the second time. I’m stupefied. Stunned. How does she do it? I thought I liked her other books, but this might be my favorite A.S. King book. This might be my favorite book. A masterpiece of rich metaphor and beautiful bluntness. An authentic work of fiction with a deep understanding of the real feelings of a person who is undergoing an existential crisis. If you’ve ever thought you were losing touch with reality or otherwise losing your mind, this book will speak to you in such a real way that you’ll feel as if you jumped inside it.

If you haven’t experienced an episode of mental illness, this oddly funny, surreal, and thought-provoking book will give you insight so you can strengthen your empathy skills. Highly recommended. Read-alikes: Vonnegut, Robbins, Bukowski. Also, the novel Calvin by Leavitt.

Aug 19, 2017

Good but not great. Started off very slow but got better towards the end. Although, I kept waiting for something surprising to happen...and it never did... could have been a lot more exciting and less predictable ...

JCLBeckyC Feb 02, 2017

Wow! Strong voice. Strong sense of place. Utterly original. Believable despite the absurdity of what's happening. It's not a happy story, although it is a deeply satisfying one. It contains the usual muck of the best realistic fiction: abuse, family secrets, mental breakdowns. But, because this novel is written by A. S. King, the master of magical realism, it's so much more than the typical "issues" book. Hand this to anyone who has struggled--with art, with life, with both.

LPL_WilliamO Nov 05, 2016

Easily one of the the best YA novels I've read this year. Intense, heartbreaking look at abuse, trauma, dealing with the demons of your past and surviving. Could be hard for some to read - but it's not without its hope. A.S. King is brilliant.

JCLAmyF Nov 01, 2016

Another brilliant AS King novel.

samcmar Jul 21, 2016

Note: I had the chance to read an advance reader's copy of this book thanks to the publisher. This does not reflect my review.

I am a huge A.S King fan, and I always find her books to be a gripping, emotional, and even terrifying at times, experience. Still Life With Tornado is a book about art, abuse, and what it means to feel stagnant when the world is moving past you before your very eyes.

Sarah is a wonderful protagonist who struggles with so many issues, from her parents being trapped in a loveless marriage, to having her art work sabotaged because she saw something she shouldn't. Abuse of power is a large part of what makes this novel so rough to read. Teachers, parents, there's both a desire for control and a loss of control int his novel that is reflected in every single character. It's also interesting to read how Sarah's family fell apart through the eyes of her mother, as well as the family vacation that changed everything.

This novel broke my heart right in half. These are the kinds of stories that make me so sad, and make me wish that no one had to suffer these types of situations. Sarah's question for original art is both thoughtful and sad, and it makes you wish that things could, in fact, get better for her. It makes you wish that things could get better for everyone in the story. Sometimes the only way something can get better is if you choose to meet it head on, which can be so scary. Sarah feels a large void, acting in a part she didn't really ask to play, and you feel for her. You understand why she seems so broken.

I felt so emotional reading this book, and once again A.S King leaves me thinking about life and family. While I may not have parents anymore, I appreciated the fact that I always felt loved and wanted, even when things were hard between them. Sarah's story is so moving, and it's a harsher reality that not everyone has dealt with or seen, which makes it very eye opening as well. Still Life With Tornado is A.S King at her finest, as she challenges her readers in such such a gripping and thought provoking story.


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