eyeBy 2050, global warming has turned the climate into mankind’s enemy: once “normal” weather systems like hurricanes and tornadoes are now monster storms that ravage the world with their intensity and frequency.  Life has become a dual existence of living indoors: above ground anxiously waiting for the next storm system and then spending a good deal of time in underground storm shelters wondering if your home has been annihilated.  Playgrounds are built in cavernous underground shelters, no one rides bikes, goes on picnics or travels far.  The food supply is all grown in special DNA-ture farms secure from the uncontrollable weather.  Amid this dire climate, however, life goes on.  For 12 year old Jaden Meggs, she’s about to reconnect with the father she hasn’t seen for four years after her parents’ divorce.  She’s joining him at Pleasant Meadows, a secure community in Oklahoma that his company, StormSafe, has built and engineered to be resistant to the massive tornadoes that can devour a whole town in minutes.

In addition to a summer to reconnect with her dad and his new family, Jaden is also looking forward to attending an exclusive summer camp sponsored by StormSafe, Eye on Tomorrow, where the best and brightest young scientific minds spend a summer attempting to solve the complex problems facing the world.  There she meets Alex, a boy who is as passionate about storm dissipation as she is and who lives with his family on one of the few farms still functioning outside the protected fences of Pleasant Meadows.  What Jaden quickly discovers is that Pleasant Meadows more than just a secure community, it is completely protected from the storm systems; the tornadoes literally roar right up to the chain link fence on the community’s perimeter and then inexplicably change direction back out to the farmland and countryside.  As Jaden and Alex’s research progresses, they discover a horrible truth about her dad’s company that Jaden can’t force herself to accept until it’s almost too late.  When one of the worst storms in recorded history approaches the area, threatening to destroy everyone and everything in its path, Jaden is torn between her loyalty to her dad and doing what’s right.

Kate Messner’s Eye of the Storm is a fast paced, tension filled adventure that will appeal to both boys and girls.  It’s a multi-layered story about fathers and daughters and the effects of divorce;   a suspenseful mystery; a chilling dystopian tale; a book that celebrates math, science and the deductive reasoning process; and a coming of age tale with a smart, brave heroine facing some tough moral choices.  Complete with a discussion guide, a mock-trial activity, and interesting web links, Eye Of the Storm is an excellent opportunity to introduce a discussion of ethics, both corporate and individual, with middle grade students.   The complexity of the issues, the slippery slope from common good to corporate greed, and the personal loyalties that are woven into this action packed storm story illustrate that in the real world, nothing is ever black and white; instead it’s always stormy shades of gray.

  • Posted by Cori

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