ARC Review & Playlist: We Speak in Storms

“We are many. Fifty-four buried in 1961. Another fifty who made it home with all or most of our bodies, and countless others – friends, parents, lovers – who lived on but because ghosts anyway, always waiting, always aware of the spin.”

Rating: 4/5 stars
Format: Physical Copy
Release Date: September 3, 2019

Thank you Penguin Teen for sending me a copy of this in exchange for a honest review!


36243752It’s been more than 50 years since a tornado tore through a drive-in movie theater in tiny Mercer, Illinois, leaving dozens of teens — a whole generation of Mercerites — dead in its wake. So when another tornado touches down in the exact same spot on the anniversary of this small-town tragedy, the town is shaken. For Brenna Ortiz, Joshua Calloway, and Callie Keller, the apprehension is more than just a feeling. Though they seem to share nothing more than a struggle to belong, the teens’ paths continue to intersect, bringing them together when they least expect it, and perhaps, when they need it most. Both the living and the dead have secrets and unresolved problems, but they may be able to find peace and move forward–if only they work together.

A beautifully told, haunting yet hopeful novel about pushing past the pain, facing the world, and finding yourself.

The Verdict

tw: eating disorders, rape, animal abusive, racism, homophobia

Be still my beating heart! This was so good and now I’m just reduced to a puddle of tears because I was not expecting this. This is a story about love, loss, hope, and forgiveness served with a side of ghosts and tornadoes. What’s not to love?

I’m not going to lie, one of the main reasons I wanted to read this is because for some reason it was giving me all the Twister vibes. I mean, the drive-in movie theater getting torn up by a tornado, the characters all be tied to the storm for their own personal reasons? Yes, please! And I’m so happy to report that this totally lived up to my expectations and then some. We Speak in Storms follows three characters, Brenna, Callie, and Joshua. Each character is dealing with their own issues and are given distinct voices throughout this that make it easy to root for them. Brenna, is one of the few POC in her school and is sick of everyone making assumptions of who she is based off her skin color. Callie, is dealing with her mother dying from cancer by isolating herself from everyone she loves. And Joshua, came out to his entire school only to be ignored and treated as though he’s invisible everyday since.

On the anniversary of the October 7, 1961 tornado that killed over 50 people as the tornado ripped through a drive-in movie theater another tornado touches down in almost the exact same spot…and this time the tornado has left a few spirits behind. I loved how the author wove the spirits voices into the story by adding a beautiful touch of magical realism. As readers get further into the story they’ll find that each teen in the book is paired up with a spirit that has either died during the 1961 tornado or lost someone who died. Each spirit helps the teens with their internal struggles by learning from the past and the mistakes the spirits feel they made while they were living. In return the teens also help the spirits heal from their regrets, which creates a beautiful cycle of love and forgiveness from the past to the present.

All in all, this debut was FANTASTIC and I cannot wait to read more from the author in the future. I absolutely loved how each character grew throughout this story and the sense of closure the spirits were able to get. It was the perfect mix of spooky and atmospheric without being too over the top and also being an incredibly moving read. I think that this a book that both teens and adults will enjoy because we can find a bit of ourselves whether it be with the characters or the spirits.


Until next time,




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