Escaping Tornado Season: A Story in Poems

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9780060086398: Escaping Tornado Season: A Story in Poems

Allie Benton's summer at her grandparents' house in Minnesota is the same as it's always been: northern lights and pine trees, family gossip and root beer floats. She's come here to escape Nebraska's tornado season every summer for as long as she can remember. The only difference is, this time no one's coming to take her back to Nebraska when fall rolls around.

With her father dead, her mother run off to heaven knows where, and her twin brother, seven years buried, just a ghost in her memory, Allie settles in with her grandparents for a cold Minnesota winter. But it's hard to fit in at a new school when her family can't afford to buy her a pair of blue jeans. And, in an ethnically divided community, Allie isn't even allowed to choose the friends she wants-handsome Joey Redfern and Lidia, the beautiful Ojibwe girl who calls Allie my niijikwe, "my friend."

With a strong poetic voice, Julie Williams creates snapshots of Allie piecing a new life together- longing for her mother, grieving for her father, remembering her brother, and struggling to do what's right in an imperfect world. As the people around her come and go, Allie starts to get a sense of who she is, and of what she can hold on to despite the changes in her world.

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About the Author:

Julie Williams grew up in Nebraska and Minnesota, and she has been a writer for as long as she can remember. She has also been an actress, a secretary, a seamstress, and has held a whole host of other jobs. She now lives with her husband in Los Angeles, where she recently retired as an adjunct faculty member and assistant director of the Educational Opportunity Program at California State University, Northridge. This is her first novel.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 7-9-"You can only hunker down so long..." hoping that "nothing you love has been/blown away." That's the overriding, laborious theme in Williams's novel in poetry form, which is set in the 1960s. The idea of weathering tornadoes becomes a metaphor for 13-year-old Allie's life as she deals with her father's death, adjusts to a move from Nebraska to a small town in Minnesota, tries to reach out to her emotionally distant mother, struggles to make friends, and refuses to go along with the local prejudice against the Ojibwe people who live nearby. Unfortunately, the story line is confusing from the start, as Allie's poems move back and forth in time, describing the events happening to her now and gradually revealing important occurrences from the past. It is clear that her family has survived the devastation of a tornado, but it takes a long time for readers to discover the calamity's true effects and to understand just what caused the death of her twin brother several years ago. In trying to craft small poetic glimpses at the characters' lives, the author loses sight of telling her story coherently. There is no clear characterization here, and none of the potentially intriguing relationships are focused on in a cohesive way. All in all, the poems are neither insightful nor well written.-Sharon Korbeck, Waupaca Area Public Library, WI
Copyright Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Williams, Julie
Published by HarperTeen (2004)
ISBN 10: 0060086394 ISBN 13: 9780060086398
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Williams, Julie
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ISBN 10: 0060086394 ISBN 13: 9780060086398
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