Tiny, Lu, Nathaniel, and Will all used to be friends–they called themselves the “Science Club”–but everything changed for them the summer before they started high school. Now, they barely even speak or acknowledge each other .Tiny and Lu say that they’re “best friends” but they don’t really act like it. Will calls Nathaniel whenever he needs someone to study with and no one else is around. The night before the SATs they all happen to be at the same party celebrating the “Stormpocalypse”. They find themselves on the roof where they are inevitably struck by lightning and something about each of them changes. As they travel across New York City in a quest to change themselves back to normal, they’ll learn some things about friendship and what it truly means to be yourself.
First of all, I appreciate that each of the characters are individuals. The narrative alternates between each of the four main characters and between the present and the summer before high school started. They each had distinctive voices which made the book more interesting to read. With that being said, I do think that the characters seemed a little immature for how old they were supposed to be. Or…maybe not too immature, but there wasn’t much of a difference between the characters in the “Then” sections versus the “Now” sections. They’ve been separated for three years and the author doesn’t really show the reader how those years have changed each of the characters. Sure, we’re told that Nathaniel is now super studious and Will is a stud when he used to be a chub, but we’re only told these things. We’re not really shown in the narrative how these changes have effected them. Perhaps this is why I had a hard time connecting with the characters. I didn’t not enjoy the book, but I had a hard time bringing myself back to it after I’d put it down for the day.
The plot was a tad unbelievable, but perhaps that was the point. I couldn’t help but think things like “Okay, it’s like two in the morning and there’s still a Sweet Sixteen party going on? In the middle of an epic storm?” Stuff like that just kind of took me out of the story. I understand why the book was set in the middle of the night in the middle of an epic storm, but it made some other elements of the story hard for me to buy. I also could have done without the science-y element of the story. Again, I understand why it was included, but every time the characters tried to explain something about it I just found myself scratching my head. It honestly didn’t make very much sense to me and I would have had an easier time buying a magical explanation than the scientific one given.
One thing I really liked about the book was the setting. I feel that the author was able to really capture New York City in the middle of a massive storm. This book made me want to fly over there and start exploring the city right away. I liked that we got to see a lot of different parts of the city through the eyes of these characters who have lived there their whole lives and the entire storm made everything feel very atmospheric.
Overall, I thought this book had a really promising premise, but the execution was lacking in some ways. While it has a strong conclusion, everything before that was a little jumbled like perhaps the author was trying to do too much.
Overall Rating: 3
Sexual Content: Mild
Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.