Still Life with Tornado
by A.S. King
After her project is destroyed at an art show, 16-year-old Sarah is at a breaking point, questioning whether her life is worth living. Her family is abusive, her art teacher is dismissive and cruel, her brother is missing, and her ability to draw is blocked by the trauma. Wandering the streets of Philadelphia, she meets herself at ages 10, 23 and 40; these alternate selves help her uncover the root of her problems that she has buried in her subconscious for years. She mentally revisits a traumatic vacation leading up to her brother’s leaving, exposing toxic family dynamics that she has continually ignored. A tornado drawn by her friend Carmen, becomes a symbol of the emotional storm that is Sarah’s life. As the truth is revealed, the reader wonders if Sarah has PTSD, if she is schizophrenic, or if she just needs someone to help her deal with the realities of her life.
This book has won numerous accolades and inclusion on these lists: 2016 New York Times Notable Children's Books, News & Observer Best Books of 2016, Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2016, School Library Journal Best Books of 2016, Booklist Best Books of 2016 and others.
Dutton Books for Young Readers. Oct 11, 2016. 295 pages. HS.
Booktalk by Sharon Nehls.