The Waiting Sky
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The Waiting Sky

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  955 ratings  ·  142 reviews
One summer chasing tornadoes could finally change Jane's life for the better

Seventeen-year-old Jane McAllister can't quite admit her mother's alcoholism is spiraling dangerously out of control until she drives drunk, nearly killing them and Jane's best friend.

Jane has only one place to turn: her older brother Ethan, who left the problems at home years ago for college. A su...more
Hardcover, 246 pages
Published August 2nd 2012 by Putnam Juvenile
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2012 YA Contemporary Challenge!
54th out of 213 books — 1,291 voters
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Community Reviews

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Twister was one of my absolute favourite movies. I used to watch it over and over, fascinated by the tornadoes. Even now, years later, I find myself mesmerized by all natural disasters. They're terrifying and set on destruction, making us seem incredibly small and powerless. When I learned that The Waiting Sky consisted of storm chasers, I simply couldn't wait to get all over this! However, storms are only one of the parts that constitutes this invigorating, intense story.

Our fantastic main char...more
There is something to be said of a storm's beauty. As rational as we are there is this awe that takes over when you see something that has so much power and elegance. You can't help feel something so incredible could be that horrible. Then you realize the storm doesn't care a whit that you are struck in wonderment, not even a little. Kind of cruel isn’t it?

Well our protagonist gets to get up close and personal with storms, more specifically tornadoes. Ethan, her older brother, is part of a torn...more
I have to admit it: I only picked up The Waiting Sky because of its cover. While I was definitely intrigued by the unique premises of this novel, its cover really drew me in with its desperation and overall feel of melancholy. In fact, I think it’s such a perfect cover because this novel itself has a feel of such deep sadness to it, but it thankfully never becomes overwhelming. If anything, The Waiting Sky truly surprised me with its depth, unique take on alcoholism, and more than anything e...more
The Waiting Sky has a pretty cool and unique premise, a summer of tornado chasing as sort of a catharsis after narrator Jane McAllister's relationship with her alcoholic mother hits rock bottom. So there's both meteorology and a tough personal story, plus parallels between the two. But even though Jane's personal growth worked for me in the end, the way she and several of the other characters are handled during the course of the book left me less than satisfied.

First off, Jane's an enabler. She'...more
Kristilyn (Reading In Winter)
Thank you to Jenni for trading me for a copy of the book!

Why I Read This Book

Aside from the gorgeous cover, with the beautiful covers and the twister in a bottle, it was simple: I’m a huge lover of storms. I’m also a big fan of the movie Twister which features storm chasers. I always thought it was a crazy thing to chase these big, disastrous creations of Mother Nature, but books and film always make it look so exciting.

My Thoughts

From start to finish, I loved this book. I loved every single lit...more
Jenni Arndt
You can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads.

I was lucky enough to receive The Waiting Sky along with my ARC of Black City, I wasn't expecting any other books and was so surprised. I was once again surprised when I finished reading it because it is a fantastic novel. It is full of heart, great characters and wonderful writing. Jenna has grown up being the parent in her house, her mother is an alcoholic who would rather spend money down at the local bar than pay to have electricity and runnin...more
If I had to describe this book in one word it would be powerful. Zielin's writing left me breathless as I experienced the chaos of living with an alcoholic through Jane and the ripples it causes through an entire family. This heartbreaking yet wonderful read is not one to miss if you are in the mood for something slightly heavier, though quick and easy to get through.

I have to say that, hands down, my favorite aspect of this story was the tornado chasing. I live in New Jersey, tornadoes don't t...more
Ever since her older brother Ethan left for school, Jane McAllister has been taking care of her mother, paying the bills, cleaning the house, making excuses for her mother's mistakes. When when a drunk driving accident injures Jane and her best friend Cat, Cat gives her friend an ultimatum and insists that she must quit enabling her mother's alcoholism. Jane temporarily leaves her mother to spend the summer chasing tornadoes across the midwest with her brother and a crew called the Torbros. Etha...more
GENRE: YA Contemporary
THEME: Romance/Family Drama

The Waiting Sky is a book about a family who has been deeply harmed by alcohol. Author Lara Zielin really focused on how the children struggled but really needed to make the decision that was best for them. It’s a great book for a young teen that may be in a similar situation; it has a great message and makes you hope the best for the characters.

This story follows Jane McAllister a sevent...more
Jen (A Book and a Latte)
Originally posted on A Book and a Latte:

4.5 stars! The Waiting Sky hooked me from the moment I saw its cover and read the synopsis! I’ve always been fascinated by storms, and I was obsessed with the movie Twister when it came out in the mid-90s… When I saw that Zielin paired storm chasing with a girl struggling to figure out how to live life for herself when she has an alcoholic mother; I knew immediately that this was a must read for me. I was quickly gripped by this story, and was not disappoi...more
Joy (joyous reads)
I’ve been known to dislike characters for their obliviousness - those that appear weak and stupid because they refused to acknowledge the severity of their situation until it’s too late. More often (and on my own accord), Jane drove me head first into a wall. Why?

- Her definition of “normal mom behavior” defies every conceivable logic known to man.

- She was so quick to blame her brother for helping himself – for getting out of a situation and for thinking that there was a life outside of cleanin...more
Kat Hagedorn

Third time is definitely the charm.

The most fun of paying attention to a particular author is to see how her writing transforms over the years, from the first book onwards. It is beyond clear that Zielin's confidence in her writing has vastly improved since the beginning: I may have loved Donut Days but I really LOVED The Waiting Sky.

In part, this is because Zielin has adeptly tackled a very difficult subject: that of alcoholism and how it affects entire families. I lea...more
Seventeen-year-old Jane can’t quite face her mother’s alcoholism even though it sucks to spend all her time and energy keeping them afloat—making sure her mom gets to work, that the bills are paid when there’s money to pay them, and that no one knows her mom is so messed up. But when Jane’s mom drives drunk almost killing both them and Jane’s best friend, Jane can no longer deny her mom is spiraling out of control.

Jane has only one place to turn: her older brother Ethan, who left years ago to go
This book reminded me so much of Such A Rush by Jennifer Echols and I mean that in a totally good way. This is the story of a girl who is drowning in the misery and problems in her own life and most of them are created by her alcoholic mother. Jane McAllister goes out to Oklahoma to stay with her brother, Ethan, and help him and his storm chasing team, Tornado Brothers, locate and photograph a few bad tornados. This is more than just an escape for Jane; it’s a way to be released from the grips o...more
There are really no words to convey how deeply I felt for this book. With every word, every sentence, every paragraph, Lara Zielin weaved a stunningly emotional story of family, love, and what it takes to make the right decisions. And she doesn't keep anything sugar-coated. She hands them to you, even if they might be covered in thorns.

The Waiting Sky is about Jane, a girl living with her alcoholic mother and trying to keep the family going, while trying to stay alive in the process. You don't r...more
Donna {Book Passion for Life}
“Max's lips part slightly, and mine do the same. His tongue inside my mouth makes fireworks of color burst behind my closed eyelids. We explore and taste each other again and again, until Max finally pulls away. I want more-- I think I could survive on nothing but his mouth for weeks--but I try not to let it show too much.”

This is one of them books that I've had on my Kindle since last year and never managed to get around to it. Finally, I can say I've read it and honestly, it's such a unique re...more
While tornado-chasing isn't my thing, I am blown away by the huge topics this author takes on in her three teen novels. (Donut Days is about the free-thinking daughter of pastors in a fundamentalist church and The Implosion of Aggie Winchester is about the Goth daughter of the high school principal and her pregnant friend elected prom queen.) The Waiting Sky takes on a severely alcoholic mother and her inadvertently enabling daughter, plus the older brother who got away to save himself. Guilt, d...more
Sally Kruger
Jane's life revolves around her mother. Her mother is an alcoholic, but definitely not the kind of alcoholic who admits the problem and attends AA in an attempt to lead a normal life in hopes of holding a job and supporting a family. Nope, Jane is the one who must to hold it all together by paying the bills with whatever money she can earn babysitting and whatever she can grab before her mother drinks it away.

This is the only life Jane has known for years. She does have vague memories of a time...more
The book was well written, the storyline was engaging, but what really stopped me from actually enjoying this book was the main character Jane. There were times when I felt like I should've felt compassion for her, understood better why she acted the way she did and said the things she said, but I just didn't. I honestly just didn't like her and I'm not really sure why.
Let's be honest here, I picked this up because I loved the cover. I mean wow, she's holding a tornado. But little did I know how accurate it was. Jane is an old woman living inside a teenage girl. She's exhausted of trying to hold together the tornado that is her mother. She's always tired, covering for her mother, trying to pay the bills and keep their life from falling apart.

It's frustrating and shocking. This was the first book I've read that addresses alcoholism. I never realized how awful...more
Mar 08, 2012 Angela rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: teen girls
I liked this book. The romance was secondary to the growth of the main character. Unfortunately I thought her big breakthrough near the end of the book happened too quickly and neatly. Still, I would recommend this author and this title to teen girls who want a book that isn't too heavy but deals with some real life issues and isn't all about boys.
Great read. The characters were well fleshed out, the emotions driving the daughter and the son were well-written and I could easily relate to it.
The only thing stopping this from being a 5 star, was I felt the ending was a tad rushed and a wee bit safe.
The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin follows seventeen year old Jane who is unwilling to admit that her Mother is not healthy enough to care for her because of her alcoholism. Jane is sent to spend the summer with her brother who works as a storm chaser. Jane has to deal with her feelings of abandonment by her brother and her anger that things in her life aren't going the way they should while also traveling the midwest following storms.

This is a fantastic book that puts the reader into the adventurou...more
Aufaadlia 07
I can't beleive I have to wait for 8 months to red this book :(
Everyone has that one "filler-book", they chose because the cover was gorgeous, the summary was not hideous-sounding, and they just can't seem to find anything else to read at the moment.

For me, that was "The Waiting Sky" by Lara Zielin.

I enjoyed the novel's premise; how Zielin manages to craft sufficient back stories for each character, and intertwine them through their scavenge for tornadoes. I mean, right off the bat, I knew these kids had to have some serious baggage if they were chasing t...more
First Thoughts: I never thought storm chasing could be this fascinating!

(Originally posted on Alexa Loves Books)

People who chase storms have always managed to intrigue me. I’m in awe of their bravery in the face of this crazy chaos that Mother Nature can cook up, but I’m also thinking that they’re being reckless and risking their lives. It’s a fine line they manage to walk, and I’m certain I’m not the only one who finds the idea of storm chasing absolutely intriguing.

Reading The Waiting Sky act...more
Are you a fan of of the movie Twister? If you are, which I sincerely think you should be, then you will love this book. It is very similar to the movie with a slight twist. I can’t recall reading a whole lot, if any, books on tornado chasers, making this book really unique. After reading this one I sincerely hope that changes, there needs to be MORE books on this subject.

I waited a long time to read this one and it was FINALLY in at the library. I may even have squealed just a little when I yank...more
A book about tornado chasers, a dysfunctional family, AND a cute tornado chasing boy to boot? Hot damn. This book was made for me. Not to mention the cover is absolutely gorgeous. I might have to blow it up and put it on my wall.

Jane finds herself chasing tornadoes with her older brother Ethan after an accident her alcoholic mother caused almost killed the both of them plus Jane's best friend. Jane makes excuses for her mother's behavior because she knows if she doesn't help and her mother spira...more
Jane McAllister's mom is an alcoholic. Since her brother left when she was twelve, she's been left alone to take care of her mother. After a tragic incident, she goes to live for the summer with her brother, a tornado chaser, who keeps trying to convince her to stay.

I adored this book. The way it portrays the disease of alcoholism and what it does to families is spot on and enlightening. Jane is not a heroine in that sense that she has to be right all the time and she always gets her way, and...more
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I love cheese! But I might love books more. I have written a few of them, like THE WAITING SKY and THE IMPLOSION OF AGGIE WINCHESTER and DONUT DAYS and MAKE THINGS HAPPEN: THE KEY TO NETWORKING FOR TEENS.

I'd love it if you stopped by my website, or found me on Twitter: @larazielin
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Donut Days The Implosion of Aggie Winchester Make Things Happen: The Key to Networking for Teens Ink Stains Ink Stains

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“His hands are on my back, in my hair, on my hips. His fingers move like I'm Braille, like he's trying to read me just by touching me.” 10 likes
“But in the mouth of Mother Nature's fury, Ethan's totally at ease, and I wonder if it's because he's studied weather for years, or because he figured out a long time ago that the things that really hurt you don't usually fall from the sky.” 9 likes
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