Jett Jamison and the Secret Storm
Kimberly Behre Kenna
Black Rose Writing
Published August 3, 2023
About Jett Jamison and the Secret Storm
Jett Jamison can’t catch a break. Her home in small town Wisteria is noisy as a zoo, and her mind buzzes with bits of a traumatic memory she’d rather forget. She’s filled a shoebox with one hundred thirty-three to-do lists, her roadmaps to peace, but they only lead to dead ends. Sister Gia, master gardener and cat-whisperer extraordinaire, suggests a book by an anonymous author, but it’s disappeared from all local libraries, and nobody wants to talk about it.
Enraged at the injustice, Jett continues to dig for answers and is drawn into a censorship battle with a high-profile radio host. Her peaceful protest backfires big time, and the town goes berserk. Now, for peace to be within reach, Jett must either face up to her past or remain forever bound by silence much more suffocating than the din in Wisteria.
Throughout this book, Jett’s anxiety felt palpable. She tries her best to manage by making everything in her life absolutely predictable. It doesn’t work, especially not in her family full of nonconformists and free spirits.
What Jett does find, however, is a friend and mentor who gives her the space to be anxious and afraid. With Sister Gia, Jett slowly begins unpacking some of the secrets she’s kept deeply buried. I loved the way their relationship evolved and that Jett consistently stayed in an active role in the story rather than showing up and letting an adult lead her to all the answers. Sister G does say lots of wise things, but it’s Jett’s actions and interpretations of that counsel that helps her break through the things holding her back.
I enjoyed the more mystic representation of the Christian faith, as well. Catholic mysticism seems to be a faith sweet spot for me, so I was pretty excited to find that very nonjudgmental, connect with your body, listen to one another kind of approach here.
The only thing I wish had had more screen time is the confrontation between Jett and her family. For so much of the story, Jett seems to be crying out for more structure and stability in her life, and her parents kind of treat that need like a character flaw. I wish that when Jett finally spoke with them about what had been going on inside her, they realized she’d been asking for safety and stability and that they could find some ways to meet her halfway in that.
On the whole, I really enjoyed the book. It’s a really quick read– perfect for readers looking for shorter books and interested in deeper topics. I think fans of CHIRP by Kate Messner would like this one.
Recommended for Ages 9 to 13.
Major characters are white. Jett has panic attacks and anxiety.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Two characters talk about the fact that a girl was sexually assaulted. No graphic description of the event, but it obviously caused lasting trauma.
Jett’s family is against participation in organized religion. Jett befriends a nun who shares her beliefs on prayer and spirituality with her. Jett mentions praying and feeling like no one is listening. Later, she prays in Sister Gia’s garden and feels the plants answer her.
Brief, vague references to sexual assault.
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