We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen
Version: ARC Paperback
Rating: 4.5 stars
Published: November 1st 2016
It’s the summer of 1982, and for Scott and Cath, everything is about to change.Finally. A YA contemporary that doesn't take place in high school. I was waiting all my life for something like this. It even fulfilled my expectations.
Growing up across the street from each other, Scott and Cath have been best friends for most of their lives. Now they’ve graduated high school, and Cath is off to college while Scott stays at home trying to get his band off the ground. Neither of them realized that their first year after high school would be so hard.
Fortunately, Scott and Cath still have each other, and it’s through their letters that they survive heartache, annoying roommates, family dramas, and the pressure of figuring out what to do with the rest of their lives. And through it all, they realize that the only person they’ve ever wanted to turn to is each other. But does that mean they should think about being more than friends? One thing is clear: Change is an inescapable part of growing up, and we share unbreakable bonds with the friends who help us navigate it.
The letter-writing method of telling the story was definitely an effective way of getting the point across. It was very 80s... if only penpal-ing was still a popular thing, instead of the phone, no? It was a lot more sincere reading the viewpoints of the two main characters, Scott and Catherine, as they navigate the first year after high school through their own eyes, instead of through a third person POV. Of course, this means that there is a lot of gaps the reader must fill in for themselves, trying to figure out when one thing happens to someone but it take several letters to explain it. Never fear, Scott and Cath are surprisingly thorough when they describe the many dramatic events that take place over the course of their first year!
Because I am in college myself, I was able to relate to our two protagonists more. Relationships ending, friendships ending, grades dropping, all that lovely stuff was what I experienced (or something similar) in my first year. Scott's songs about his so-called friends hit the mark. Did I mention Scott is in a band? All these 80s vibes are in here... Granted, I haven't seen many 80s movies, but being in a band seems like an 80s thing.
Now I'm just the guy at the gasoline station,
Now I'm just the singer in this band.
Don't say what happened was an aberration,
That I just don't understand.
I understand that you don't know me
Now all you need with this book is a proper 80s mix tape.
And did I mention... There's a lot of f-bombs in this one. Well, to the extent any regular college student would curse. It was entertaining and realistic. I felt that the college setting made this book more relatable to a college person (aka me), and reading about Cath's and Scott's relationship and its development through letters is touching. And nostalgic for more simple times.