by Judith Hayn
Smith, J. E. (2012). The storm makers. New York, NY: Little, Brown, and Co.
Twelve-year-old Ruby and Simon live in an old farmhouse in rural Wisconsin after their parents quit their jobs and moved the twins from suburban Chicago so the adults could pursue their dreams. Dad, a former science teacher, yearns to invent an energy-making machine while Mom, a florist, hopes to become an artist. Ruby would really like leave this boring existence and hopes the worst drought in 100 years will force the family to return.
However, a glitch occurs when Simon begins to demonstrate the innate powers of a Storm Maker, someone who can stabilize the weather. As the youngest one ever, Simon has to choose which mentor to follow, the enigmatic Otis who suddenly appears at the farm, or the slick and polished Chairman of the Makers of Storms Society, Rupert London. Add to the mix their kindly neighbor Daisy, also a Storm Maker, and the race is on to help Simon harness his powers. Will the plucky and scientifically-gifted Ruby be able to sway her brother to ignore the wiles of London whose goal is to punish humanity for deliberately destroying the planet and follow Otis instead?
Using part magic and part science, the plot intensifies until the ultimate climax on a train heading from Chicago back to the Wisconsin farm with enough twists and turns to keep tween readers mesmerized.
Dr. Judith A. Hayn is an Associate Professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
This article is part of a series from the Special Interest Group Network on Adolescent Literature (SIGNAL).