Review: “We Are Still Tornadoes” by Michael Kun and Susan Mullen

we-are-still-tornadoesAuthor: Michael Kun and Susan Mullen
Genre: YA contemporary
Publication: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: November 1st, 2016
Pages: 304
Spoilers: No spoilers, so yeah, pretty cool!
Special: YA Books Central review
Rating: 3.75 Stars (3.75 / 5)

I got this review copy from St. Martin’s Griffin to write an honest review of the book, which is exactly what I will do. I came across this book SOMEWHERE on the internet. And although the synopsis didn’t give-away much of the book, I did become curious of it. I felt like it could really be one of those very good books that you just have to read and not think about it too much. I finished the book with positive feelings, tho I did have some points that I thought could’ve made the book better. But… mostly happy thoughts about this book! Here we go:


“Growing up across the street from each other, Scott and Cath have been best friends their entire lives. Cath would help Scott with his English homework, he would make her mix tapes (it’s the 80’s after all), and any fight they had would be forgotten over TV and cookies. But now they’ve graduated high school and Cath is off to college while Scott is at home pursuing his musical dreams.
During their first year apart, Scott and Cath’s letters help them understand heartache, annoying roommates, family drama and the pressure to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives. And through it all, they realize that the only person they want to turn to is each other. But does that mean they should be more than friends? The only thing that’s clear is that change is an inescapable part of growing up. And the friends who help us navigate it share an unshakable bond.” 

We Are Still Tornadoes tells the story of Cath and Scott, who have both graduated from high school and are now starting their very mature lives. They both take very different paths. Cath is off to university: she studied hard and can now do whatever she wants. Scott, however, still lives with his parent’s and works at his father’s clothing store. He didn’t study at all and has to come to terms with that. They promised to each other to remain friends. And We Are Still Tornadoes tells exactly that story.

There are two things that really makes this book original and special. The first thing is the writing style. Instead of just reading about what the characters do, Michael and Susan choose to write in letter style. As a reader you get to know the main characters through the letters they write to each other. In the beginning I didn’t like it. At all. I was confused about who was writing who and felt like there were gaps in the story. That was until I realized I really had to check the dates of the letters: sometimes time has passed between two letters and the Scott and Cath met in that time. You aren’t missing anything there, it’s just that you ONLY read what they are writing to each other, and nothing more. After a few chapters I started to adore the very thing that irritated me at the beginnen. The letters they send each other are funny, honest and sometimes a bit painful. But this really makes the story original and unable to put down.


The second thing you should really know about this book, is the time it is set in. And that is the 80’s. 1982 if I’m not mistaken. At the beginnen I was telling myself: they should just text each other to avoid further drama. And also: why is he calling her at her college paid phone? It took a while for me to realize that mobile phones didn’t exist yet and people hadn’t heard of the concept ‘texting’ yet. It was quite interesting to read bout their struggles (as letters starting crossing), and it made me realize how much I love whats app. It also made me value letters in another way. Besides the mobile phone thing, you also have the ‘music thing’. In the book, Cath and Scott talk about Micheal Jackson music. I. LOVE. IT. Cath is explaining to Scott that her roommate just loves the newly released Thriller and plays it all day long. These references make the story seem more real.

So the writing style is lovely and the world building is really realistic. But what about the plot line? I think they could’ve gotten it deeper and to a higher level if they had invested a little more in the characters. The plot line was pretty basic, and even though I really liked it, it wasn’t mind-blowing or original. It just went on and on (I kept reading tho, because of the lovely writing style). Some parts were pretty ‘exciting’ in a way, but I missed some action here and there.


The characters were fun. Cath become a real student over the course of the book and Scott finally started to realize that maybe he made a mistake and was now ruining his life. Kind of. They developed. But it still felt like something was missing. And I’m not sure what exactly that could’ve been.

Overall the book is a really nice read and I couldn’t put it down. I finished it in three (working) days and laughed a lot. I also teared up at certain parts of the story and was so happy to see that their friendship was strong enough to survive the most terrible things. I really recommend you to read the book: it’s funny, emotional, quick and original!

Nanouk Meijer

Nanouk is the founder and owner of the website. She runs the website, takes care of the lay-out, give-aways, social media, book reviews and events. She is 22 years old and graduated from 'Comparative Literature' at Utrecht University. She is Metadata & Digital Marketing Coördinator at HarperCollins Holland and staff reviewer at YA Books Central. She breaths books.

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