Title: Storm Watcher
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Page count: 203 pages
Released: December 6th, 2013
Genre: Middle Grade
Type: ARC, Kindle
Luke Riley is lost.
His mother’s recent death has set Luke and his family adrift. Even though his father, twin brothers, and their three bloodhounds are search-and-rescue volunteers, they have been unable to rescue themselves and become a family again.
The summer after sixth grade looms in Luke’s mind as a long, lonely three months where the only thing he can look forward to is watching the Weather Channel. Luke is fascinated with the weather, but since his mother’s death in a storm, he is also terrified. Even the promised thirteenth birthday present of a bloodhound puppy fails to lift Luke’s spirits. He would rather have a different breed – a petite papillon – but his father insists he get a bloodhound.
Luke works out a deal with Willajean, the dog breeder who owns Storm Watcher Kennel, to help her in exchange for the expensive dog. Thrilled to have a summer with a purpose, Luke befriends Willajean’s daughter, Megan, and together they plan how to get Luke a papillon puppy instead of a bloodhound. But things go wrong, and they struggle with stubborn fathers, summer storms, unhelpful siblings, and hidden guilt.
Being my favourite author, I can’t believe I left it so long before finally reading this! I recieved the ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
While this was quite a change from any of Snyder’s other books, and I kept waiting for that little bit of magic to happen, I surprisingly wasn’t disappointed at all by the story that is Luke’s summer. The story follows him as he works for a local kennel, becomes best friends with the daughter of the owner, and argues with his family – his two brothers and his dad, since his mother recently died in a lighting attack. He is also, coincidentally, absolutely terrified of lighting.
Having a phobia of water myself (thalassaphobia), I really understood his irrationality throughout the book, especially as his phobia became more pronounced. Snyder definitely wrote it in a good, reputable way, opposed to how some people view phobias as simple fears you need to “get over”.
As always, the friendships and relationships in this wonderful little story are the focus point, leaving me to wish yet again that I lived in a Snyder book.
If you love dogs, cute friendships, and a little bit of science, give this book a try!