When an EF5 tornado rips through sixteen year-old Cori’s neighborhood, more than her house is reduced to rubble. Shocking truths about her family emerge in the aftermath. Her nemesis suffers amnesia and Cori can’t seem to get rid of her. Her best friend Slim becomes angry and reclusive. Everything is out of order, and for not-precisely-OCD Cori, this is a huge problem.
As a character, Cori is absolutely the believable high school princess. Davidson does a great job crafting this selfish yet somehow endearing heroine. Cori’s friends are great foils for her, too, often much more noble than she herself can be.
The story bears some cute references to The Wizard of Oz. Cori nicknames the tornado “the witch.” Her friends include Toni “Toto,” Leo (her cowardly lion) and Slim (her scarecrow and courageous buddy.)
Entertaining dialogue fills the scenes between Cori and her friends. Parental figures remain a bit awkward. There were a couple of places where issues between Cori and her parents were left hanging. She lies to them and later discovers they knew the truth, but there’s no confrontation about it at any point. Even when Cori finds out that they were aware of her deceit, it doesn’t seem to register with her. She also avoids contact with them to get money to pay an important debt, but seems to have no problem getting money for a prom dress immediately afterward. Not a big deal, but it definitely felt off.
I really enjoyed the way the author pulled threads from The Wizard of Oz into the story without trying to make it a retelling or getting carried away with the references. There were just enough to add zest. Like Dorothy, Cori learns the value of community and that family doesn’t always look the way one expects.
One brief kiss.
One of Cori’s neighbors is a devout Christian and prays openly in addition to telling Cori that she prays for her.
The immediate aftermath of the tornado is a bit intense. Much of Cori’s neighborhood is destroyed, and many people are injured. Damage and injuries are briefly described.