The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors
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The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors

3.5 of 5 stars 3.50  ·  rating details  ·  995 ratings  ·  233 reviews

On a sunny day in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, eight-year-old Becca Burke was struck by lightning. No one believed her—not her philandering father or her drunk, love-sick mother—not even when her watch kept losing time and a spooky halo of light appeared overhead in photographs. Becca was struck again when she was sixteen. She survived, but over time she would learn t...more
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Published May 3rd 2010 by Tantor Media (first published January 1st 2010)
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I really don't know what to say about this book. My main comment would have to be that the publisher's blurb is completely useless. You keep waiting for the two main characters to meet and connect, but they don't until the book is nearly over and then it's anti-climatic. I felt a lot of sympathy for both Becca and Buckley and was cheering them on, but it came to nothing. The book totally fizzled by the end and I think the author kind of cheated with the "where they are now" epilogue for all the...more
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Nov 12, 2010 Shellie (Layers of Thought) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: coming of age story lovers
Recommended to Shellie (Layers of Thought) by: Net Galley
Original review posted on Layers of Thought.

Actually a 4.5 star.

One of my favorite books this year - it’s a sweet, funny, and heartbreaking novel with a metaphorical link to lightening.

Shellie’s Blurb: Set in the 1980s in the Midwest and the Southern Eastern Coast of the US, this is a coming of age story of sorts with multiple characters experiencing their respective lives and their connection to lightning and its similarities to life.

Buckley Pintak the main male character is a good boy even if...more
When I was a little kid at our cabin out on the wide open plains of SD, I saw lightning split a tree in half from 50 feet away. The force of the white light blew me off of my feet. It's been a difficult event to process. Reading this book makes me realize that I did in deed have something very profound happen to me.
In this book, when lightning strikes, it can instantly kill or alter its victims. Each chapter heads off with a handbook style account given by survivors or facts to help survive a st...more
Jen McConnell
Simple put, this was quite wonderful!

I never once felt like I was reading about 'characters.' These were definitely real people. And the way Ms. Young-Stone interweaves the voices is quite amazing. Sometimes the narrator is different from paragraph to paragraph and yet I was never confused or lost - on the contrary I felt like I was right there inside each person's mind. She does the transitions so seamlessly, I am in awe, and as a writer, envious.

I literally didn't want to put the book down at...more
Tina Dalton
Very enjoyable book, easy to read yet well-written. The author herself is a lightning strike survivor and that theme, the question of how and why one survives such a thing, is explored through the various characters lives. I'm glad I read this one.
Laura Stone Johnson
“If you are a lightning strike survivor, understand that you are not alone.” When eight-year-old Becca Burke is struck by lightning in her driveway on a sunny day, that’s exactly how she feels. Her mother and father don’t even believe her, and only her grandmother sees that the hands on her watch are moving backward. It’s many years later, with another strike under her belt, when Becca reads that sentence from Buckley R. Pitank’s Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, and feels understood. Ho...more
Jul 23, 2010 Marsia rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Almost anyone
Recommended to Marsia by: nobody; new at the library
Shelves: family-sagas
Michele Young-Stone's delightful first novel, THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING STRIKE SURVIVORS, features a sizable cast of believable characters as they progress through several decades to 1995 while inhabiting a variety of locations: Mont Blanc, Arkansas; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Galveston, Texas; and New York, New York. I found most of these characters to be good company most of the time, which is more than I can say for most people.

Each brief chapter is followed by a page from the HANDBOOK FOR...more
I have to admit, I don't normally read books in this vein. Normally I like books with an angsty female protagonist set in magical alternate earths, but once in a while I'll have friends & coworkers suggesting books to me. This was one such book & I have to admit, I was surprised at how quickly I got into it.

The tale follows two different people from slightly different times. Becca was struck by lightning as a child & ever since that fateful day she's been desperately trying to recapt...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Irene Ziegler
In this impressive first novel, lightning serves as a metaphor for life as two parallel stories unravel before us. And I do mean unravel. Becca, growing up in North Carolina, and Buckley, growing in Arkansas are hit from all sides by dysfunction, narcissist parenting, and benign neglect. They are also hit by lightening. An excerpt from the “handbook” signals a change in the point of view in a voice less scientific than colloquial:

“Regardless of a victim’s gender, doctors and scientists concur th...more
The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors is difficult to sum up in a review. It is (in the best possible way) a narrative as skittish as the lightning that propels it, flitting from character to character in unpredictable fashion. We never know where the narrative will land next. This lightning-esque storytelling might not work in some stories, but it is a more than fitting approach here. The story follows multiple characters, with an emphasis on lightning strike survivor Becca and lightning...more
Lydia Presley
Okay, so I loved this book. It was not what I expected, at all, but I still loved it.

The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors is the story of two very different but but similar people (confusing, no?). Becca, a young girl who is struck by lightning and Buckley, a young boy who experiences the horrifying reality of lightning strikes as well.

Both families these children grow up in are disjointed and horrible. I was depressed throughout the book because no one could ever seem to catch a break....more
I have been fascinated by the title of this book for quite awhile. Along with my interest in the title, the fact the author has been struck by lightning herself, helped push this book on to my to-read list.

Becca and Buckley have both had their lives affected by lightning strikes. They seem to have a lot in common, enough that at times I had to stop and figure out whose life I was reading about. Young-Stone tells her tale by creating parallel stories and by playing a bit with time. Occasionally,...more
This book was not good. As seems to be the trend lately, I picked this up and read it because the title was good- intriguing and poetic. But... bad characters, bad characterization... ugh, bad writing. Example: Becca is in a hospital and hears a nurse talking about a girl named Clementine. Then Buckley has a friend named Clementine... yet the author feels the need to explicitly state that it is the same character. Come on- the writing should be good enough that the reader can tell. And you shoul...more
Jennie Coughlin
I was lucky enough to hear Michele read a selection from this before I bought the book, which bumped it to the top of my to-read list. Handbook is an ambitious book, weaving in lots of people and places over several years, with two main plot threads running parallel tracks for much of the story. In the hands of a less-skilled writer, this could have been a train wreck. Fortunately, Michele keeps everything flowing as she weaves her tale, creating an engaging read. I had to stop midway through fo...more
E. Anderson
Hands down, one of my favorite "grown-up books" of the past year was THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING-STRIKE SURVIVORS by Michele-Young Stone. It's a story from two perspectives, that of Becca Burke, a young girl who has been struck by lightning, whose family believes she has imagined it, and of Buckley Pitank, who lost his mother as a child in a terrifying storm. Both characters' stories are interwoven as Buckley begins research for a book that shares its title with this novel and Becca works hard to...more
There are moments in life that startle you, make you cry, and experience the warmth of human relationships (even relationships with pets). Life, period. The "Handbook" offered each in a way I simply did not expect. Subtle, poignant, and sometimes brash story of unforgettable characters and their journey in this world. Not offering spoilers at all... never do. I will say that after I'd gotten to close to the second half of the book, I didn't put it down. I couldn't. I needed to know what was goin...more
Meeting Michele Young-Stone was what prompted me to purchase her book. She'd worked so hard on it and was so personable, friendly, and encouraging to emerging writers. Young-Stone wrote in a style I like and admire in her epic debut that spans POVs, generations, and locales. I enjoyed her narrative style and the overall arc of the book and connections made between people that weren't always so evident. I also very much appreciated that there wasn't quite a happy ending or a kind of soulmate for...more
I kept hoping that it would improve, but no such luck. This is shallow, immature, gimmick-laden tripe. Very disappointing.

Neither well written nor well told. Much of it was dull, and the pacing was terrible. Also, it was irritating to have the author arbitrarily break the 4th wall, over-explain EVERYTHING, and the "where are they now" at the end was a low cop out. The cast of characters was large and tritely sketched. Even the major characters felt one-dimensional, their inner lives poorly desc...more
Danielle Ryder
Michele Young Stone is a real artist. The way she writes, the details about being haunted until you express it creatively...get it out of your body: soul in the paint. I'm keeping an eye out for more from this writer/artist.
The only detail missing about being struck by lightening in my opinion is the after effects: the adrenaline pumping for hours afterwards, the awareness of life like I was actually awake for the first time in my life...until that energy grounded. I don't recommend running in...more
This novel starts with a lightning strike and once we meet the characters like Becca and Buckley who have been struck by lightning or touched by it in some way - the story becomes a bolt of lightning with intersecting branches and plots told by various characters. It's about family relationships that have gone awry - a dad tries to buy his daughter's love, a mom who can't cope without alcohol, a boy who longs for a father and a fiery artist whose spirit and work mimics the brilliant white of a l...more
So impressed with my old school friends first release. I loved this book and the characters in it. Very well written, thoughtful, and compelling. A must read!!
A good first effort. I thought the ending lacked clarity and there were a lot of characters to keep track of. But the theme was excellent.
Kris Spisak
The hard lives of these complex characters kept the pages turning and the fascination raw.
A good debut but a bit ambitious. Too many characters and one too many lightning strikes!
This book was fantastic. 'Nuff said.
Shelley Fearn
Young-Stone's novel once again demonstrates that a debut author can sometime hit a home run the first time at bat.

Both a young man in Texas and a young woman in North Carolina have their lives irrevocably altered by lightning strikes. Years later they meet at an art gallery in New York. Doesn't sound like much but this book sparkles and shines with quirky characters and a lovely story. A quick read -- perfect for the summer day with expected thunderstorms.

Young-Stone's sophomore novel is out in...more
AmberBug Review

Dear Reader,

This book was just trying too hard to be good, and it failed. I hate to say this, but I really wanted to like it (so cliche but true). It had all the makings of a good story, dysfunctional families, teen angst, lightning strike survivors! I mean, how can you go wrong. But wrong... it went. I think the best parts of the book had to be the in between chapters when we hear facts about lightning strikes and those who survive them. Funny thing is, these facts are from...more
Jul 18, 2010 Gorfo rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody who likes Nicholas Sparks books
I'm scared. This book has opened my eyes to the dangers of lightning! Ignorance is bliss, and now I can'd decide if this knowledge of lightning's powress is a gift or a curse. This story was well written, that's for sure. The title immediately pulled me in! "Hmmm I don't know much about lightning" I thought to myself. I think my favorite part of this book were the pages before every page, which were supposedly excerpts from the real "Handbook for lightning surviors", the pages consisted of stati...more
my book club read this, and we had the author come in for our discussion since she lives in richmond. it was great to meet her -- she's really down-to-earth and enjoys talking about books (hers and other people's). as far as the book goes, i enjoyed it. i didn't feel at all as though i had to drag myself through it; the pages turned quickly. i did have a hard time getting into it because it is one of those that follows two main characters, and the chapters go back and forth between them. it also...more
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Mrs. Gallagher's ...: Book Review 1 9 Nov 18, 2012 06:33AM  
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MICHELE YOUNG-STONE is the author of THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING STRIKE SURVIVORS (Crown, 2010). Her second novel, ABOVE US ONLY SKY, (Simon & Schuster) will be available Spring, 2015. In addition to being a writer, Michele is a mom, wife, animal lover, Zumba-addict, crafter, Pinterest junkie, and bird watcher. Learn more about Michele and her new book, ABOVE US ONLY SKY, at www.micheleyoungsto...more
More about Michele Young-Stone...
Above Us Only Sky: A Novel

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