Monday, October 3, 2016

strictly literary: we are still tornadoes by michael kun and susan mullen

i'm a sucker for an epistolary novel, possibly because it just reminds me of a different time, when letters were the easiest way to share your thoughts with friends across long distances. in we are still tornadoes it is 1982, and catherine osteen and scott agee are childhood friends who are separated when she goes off to college and he stays home working at his dad's clothing store and starting a band.

the letters are spaced out over the course of their first year apart, and follows the ups and downs of long distance correspondence. the misunderstandings that arise when you aren't communicating face-to-face. the way words can offer hope, comfort and love, and yet also cut you to the quick. how you can be brave and write things that you might never say otherwise.

even though all the action takes place through the letters, the authors do a good job of informing us about what is happening off-screen. both cath and scott are dealing with their share of heavy things as well as their own insecurities and hang-ups, and the letters allow us to see how they work through these things together. and we also see how they grow up as they experience life after high school and how that changes things, but through it all they are also still cath and scott, best friends, tornadoes. (it's an inside joke, but you'll have to read the book to get in on it.)

it being 1982 makes sense for the epistolary nature of the story, but also because music informs this novel incredibly. scott loves music. he starts up a band. he writes songs and shares his lyrics with cath. both scott and cath love to share their thoughts about the music being released, and looking back, it was an incredible time for music. it's the ├╝ber 80s—so many songs that would define the decade were released that year.

**we are still tornadoes will publish on november 1, 2016. i received an advanced reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press in exchange for my honest review.

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