Guide/Reviews Database
INTERMEDIATE FICTION
Patrick, Cat

Tornado Brain

(2) 4-6 Set in a quirky tourist town on the Washington State coast, this story presents an original variation on the relationship triangle. Frankie and her twin sister share a best friend until, as is often the way of middle-school friendship challenges, they don't. When the best friend, Colette, disappears, this dynamic is intensified, and the narrative becomes a detective novel. Patrick makes adept use of secrets, red herrings, disappeared documents, and phone videos to construct a clever and suspenseful mystery where, in time-honored tradition, kids defy authority and solve the puzzle themselves. Frankie, the narrator, hovers between reliable and unreliable as her "several neurological conditions: attention deficit disorder, Asperger's syndrome, and sensory processing disorder" influence her perspective. We get right inside her distinctive take on the world, and in her specificity, Frankie joins other memorable protagonists who are not neurologically typical, such as Willow in Counting by 7s (rev. 9/13) and Rose in Rain Reign (rev. 9/14). Her tendency to overexplain makes sense in the circumstances, but it does overwhelm the ­storytelling at points, especially at its tragic denouement. However, the detailed setting and a strong cast of supporting characters, including the twins' exhausted mother and a kindly boy who like likes Frankie, make this a satisfying reading experience.

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