Change is a word that can describe many things in Jaden Megg’s summer. For the first time she’s basically out of contact with her mom, who is doing volcano research while Jaden’s living with her dad for the first time in four years. Jaden’s meeting her half-sister and stepmother in person for the first time after several years of video chats. Her father has recently returned from his weather experiments and research in Russia to work near Placid Meadows, his company’s StormSafe community.
Spending the summer in Oklahoma is nothing like the Northeastern US where Jaden’s grown up. There are massive storm shelters every fifteen minutes of driving in Oklahoma to provide havens when the tornadoes hit. Storms are worse around the globe with the increase in temperature, but Oklahoma is particularly bad. Jaden and her dad are nearly caught out in a tornado.
When the first storm come while Jaden is inside Placid Meadows, she’s floored by what doesn’t happen. The storm doesn’t plow through the community. It goes around. She learns that the storms never touch Placid Meadows. One of her new friends tells her it is in the contract that the storms never will hit there. Jaden doesn’t understand how such a promise can be given.
Change doesn’t apply just to Jaden’s family life, place of residence or her exposure to storms. She’s participating in Eye on Tomorrow, a brilliant summer camp for gifted students. The campers are able to choose from different lines of scientific study and have access to simulation technology, well equipped labs and more are part of their summer study. Jaden’s interests lie in storm dissipation as do those of Alex, a local boy in his second year at Eye of Tomorrow. Alex’s family is one of the few still holding out on the farms near Placid Meadows, farms that have faced increasing weather damage that year. For the first time, Jaden faces criticism because of who her father is. As the two teens work together, their research into dissipation is thwarted again and again in simulation though Alex is confident in their calculations. They discover there is more to these storms than simple weather.
Eye of the Storm is a gripping near future science fiction story filled with suspense. I think both middle grade and young adult readers would enjoy Kate Messner’s work. There are twists and turns to keep the reader guessing what is going on as well as who Jaden can trust. Readers can compare the places and things Jaden encounters in 2050 with those we experience today. I especially enjoyed the character dynamics between Jaden and Alex. The librarian at Eye of Tomorrow was my favorite minor character.