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Tornado Brain
Cover of Tornado Brain
Tornado Brain
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In this heartfelt and powerfully affecting coming of age story, a neurodivergent 7th grader is determined to find her missing best friend before it's too late.Things never seem to go as easily for...
In this heartfelt and powerfully affecting coming of age story, a neurodivergent 7th grader is determined to find her missing best friend before it's too late.Things never seem to go as easily for...
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Description-

  • In this heartfelt and powerfully affecting coming of age story, a neurodivergent 7th grader is determined to find her missing best friend before it's too late.

    Things never seem to go as easily for thirteen-year-old Frankie as they do for her sister, Tess. Unlike Tess, Frankie is neurodivergent. In her case, that means she can't stand to be touched, loud noises bother her, she's easily distracted, she hates changes in her routine, and she has to go see a therapist while other kids get to hang out at the beach. It also means Frankie has trouble making friends. She did have one—Colette—but they're not friends anymore. It's complicated.

    Then, just weeks before the end of seventh grade, Colette unexpectedly shows up at Frankie's door. The next morning, Colette vanishes. Now, after losing Colette yet again, Frankie's convinced that her former best friend left clues behind that only she can decipher, so she persuades her reluctant sister to help her unravel the mystery of Colette's disappearance before it's too late.

    A powerful story of friendship, sisters, and forgiveness, Tornado Brain is an achingly honest portrait of a young girl trying to find space to be herself.

Excerpts-

  • From the cover

    prologue

    Myth: Tornadoes only move northeast.

    People used to believe that tornadoes only move in one direction—to the northeast—but that’s not true. Sometimes they go southwest. Sometimes they touch down and don’t go anywhere, getting sucked right back up into the sky. That’s disappointing. Sometimes they zig and sometimes they zag. Tornadoes are unpredictable.

    If a tornado was in middle school, it might get a lot of weird looks from other kids. Its counselor might call its behavior “unexpected.” Its mom might try to get it to move in the same direction as the other tornadoes just to fit in. But maybe the tornado doesn’t care about fitting in—even if it means not having a lot of friends.

    I can relate because I used to have one friend but now I don’t. It’s complicated.

    I met her during a tornado.

    It was the first week of kindergarten. My memories from back then are foggy because I was just a little kid and also my memory is weird, but here’s how I think it went. Everyone was at recess and I was circling the outside of the play area alone, thinking of roller coasters because I was obsessed with them then, feeling my way along the chain link because I liked the way my fingers dropped into the spaces between the links and the way my hand smelled like metal afterward. Not a lot of people like that smell.

    Sometimes I don’t notice things at all and sometimes I notice things too much. That day, I noticed when the wind turbine at the far end of the playground stopped turning. I live in Long Beach, Washington, and it’s known for being windy—so windy that there’s an international kite festival every August—so when the turbine stopped, it was different. I notice things that are different. The creepy green-gray circular clouds behind the unmoving turbine were different, too. That’s called a mesocyclone, which is a word I like.

    I don’t know if any other kid on the playground saw the twister fall from the funnel cloud that day. I was probably the only one who was looking up instead of playing tether-ball or hanging upside down from the monkey bars or something. Being upside down makes my head feel funny.

    I watched as the tornado hit the ground and started bumping toward us, tossing things that looked like bugs but were really recycling bins. The emergency system was loud, so I covered my ears. Kids ran inside but I didn’t run; I walked . . . in the direction of the tornado. I took my hands off my ears and heard the train sound, far away at first, then louder and louder. The tiny bottom of the tornado got bigger as it collected stuff, pulling up and tossing small trees and even sucking up a utility pole, sending sparks into the sky like fireworks.

    I was sucked up, too—by an adult. He grabbed me and started running toward the school. I watched the tornado rip out the far part of the playground fence, which is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

    “What is wrong with you?” the adult shouted, too close to my ear.

    An audiologist once told me that I have better-than-average hearing, so it hurt. If you don’t know what an audiologist is, it’s a doctor who studies hearing loss and balance issues related to the ears. I don’t have either of those things, but still I went to one—along with many other doctors that have ologist at the end of their titles.

    I cupped my hands over my ears, but I could still hear him shouting: “You need to listen to directions! You could have been...

About the Author-

  • Cat Patrick and her family live near Seattle but spend as much time as possible four hours west setting marshmallows on fire and tangling kites in the curious town of Long Beach. There, Tornado Brain was born.

    Cat is the author of several books for young adults including Summer 2011 Kids Indie Next List pick Forgotten, which sold in 23 countries; ALA 2013 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers selection Revived; and others. Tornado Brain is her middle grade debut.

    Find her online at www.catpatrick.com.

Reviews-

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from September 1, 2020

    Gr 5-8-Thirteen-year-old Frankie loves tornadoes-their power, unpredictability, and how they seem out of control. which is kind of like Frankie herself. She suffers from neurological problems-Asperger's, ADD, and a sensory disorder-and tries hard to manage herself. She doesn't like to be touched and she often speaks without a filter. Frankie also is brave, persistent, and smart. When her former best friend disappears, Frankie tries to solve the mystery while still emotionally dealing with her friend's perceived betrayal. Jorjeana Marie narrates authentically in the first person in a youthful voice. The world looks differently from Frankie's perspective, and listeners are privileged to share that world with her. Through Marie's stellar portrayal, Frankie's confusion, hurt, and joy are clear. This audio would be a wonderful addition to any middle grade collection. VERDICT Not only is it a good selection for mystery buffs, but its greatest strength is in helping listeners, both adult and young, develop empathy with anyone who is neurodiverse.-Julie Paladino, formerly with East Chapel Hill H.S., NC

    Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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