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We Are Still Tornadoes

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It’s the summer of 1982, and for Scott and Cath, everything is about to change.

Growing up across the street from each other, Scott and Cath have been best friends for most of their lives. Now they’ve graduated high school, and Cath is off to college while Scott stays at home trying to get his band off the ground. Neither of them realized that their first year after high school would be so hard.

Fortunately, Scott and Cath still have each other, and it’s through their letters that they survive heartache, annoying roommates, family dramas, and the pressure of figuring out what to do with the rest of their lives. And through it all, they realize that the only person they’ve ever wanted to turn to is each other. But does that mean they should think about being more than friends? One thing is clear: Change is an inescapable part of growing up, and we share unbreakable bonds with the friends who help us navigate it.

304 pages, Hardcover

First published November 1, 2016

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About the author

Michael Kun

14 books81 followers
Michael Kun lives in Los Angeles, California. He practices law when he is not writing, or vice versa.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 475 reviews
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,373 reviews9,450 followers
August 16, 2016


OMG! I loved this book! I thought for a minute I was going to toss it because of Stephanie. At least I think that was her name, she was so horrible and only had a few parts but I didn't like her at all and now don't even know if that's her name. It started with an S at any rate!

The name of the book "We Are Still Tornadoes" is because that was their school name and someone gave a speech about it at graduation.

East Bloomfield High School Tornadoes, Class of 1982. And we will always be Tornadoes!

I love the 80's ya'll. I mean I was born in the 70's but still! And when Cath and Scott write to each other they talk about all kinds of 80's music and things like that because this is set in the 80's and they talk about new music coming out and it made me flip my top :-D

 :

To my knowledge or memory, I have never read a book like this one and I wasn't sure in the beginning but I just loved it. The author's have written it in a letter format. Cath and Scott, who have been best friends since childhood are writing letters to each other. Cath went off to college and Scott didn't for certain reasons. So everything in the book is written in letters back and forth. Even when they visit each other it will be written in a letter from one to the other about what went on while visiting. I know it sounds really weird and some parts I did want to hear about in person, but for the most part it worked out just fine.

God! I want to tell everything that happened in this book, but I can't. Cath and Scott go through a lot of heartaches during the book. There are divorces and death, fights and jealous weirdo's, finals and exams, running and starting a band - so many things. I wish I could have had a pen pal friend from when I was little. I do have a pen pal but not like this, I want one of my friends from childhood. OH well.

I loved where this went with the love story. It was so perfect, but you have to wait until the end and go through a lot of different trials with people and stuff. It's not what your thinking either. And for those of you that don't like insta-love, (I don't mind it) there is none. For those that love big ole smut scenes, there is none. It's just a really, really good book about life and love and what more do you want =) I'm happy with it and I am adding it to my huge Amazon Wish List (well one of them at any rate)



This book made my day and I needed that ♥

**I would like to thank Netgalley and St. Martin's Griffin for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.**

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,672 reviews701 followers
November 28, 2016
This book wasn't even on my radar until I received a surprise copy from the publisher. The synopsis sounded like something right up my alley.

I was a bit wary of the letter writing format, but I loved it. I loved the banter and the way their relationship progressed. The personalities of Cath and Scott come shining through and I really enjoyed only learning what was on the page.

Overall, it was a quick and cute read. There were a few angsty moments, but it was so slight. This book is almost entirely all fluff and it's delightful.

**Huge thanks to Griffin Teen for providing the finished copy free of charge**
Profile Image for Neil (or bleed).
951 reviews730 followers
July 25, 2020
What a wonderful story of friendship!

Even though the ending gives little subtle things of what happens between Cath and Scott and felt quite rushed, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel set in the 80s. I have read few books written in exchanging-letter/email format or in just letter format.

Some I do enjoy like Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Alterbrando and The Perks of Being A Wallflower and some I don't like Love, Rosie and Love Letters to the Dead (so I did't continue reading them). We Are Still Tornadoes goes to the I-do-enjoy section, obviously.

We Are Still Tornadoes is a genuine, emotionally-driven coming-of-age story of Cath and Scott. In this novel, these two update each other about their lives through letters. Even it's about family, boyfriend/girlfriend, goals in life and other mundane things, they are open to each other and I liked it how I felt about it.

Actually, the two are #friendshipgoals. They maybe argue or fight with their letters because of misunderstanding but they smoothed it out eventually and accept their faults or apologize for it. Really, reading their letters is so compelling and fun. And I can't deny how blatant their emotions in their letter, I love it.

I can't recommend enough this beautiful novel even without those actual tornadoes.
Profile Image for Laura.
425 reviews1,241 followers
June 29, 2017
This was such a sweet story set in the 80s about friendship, family, and everything in between. It follows Scott and Cath who have been best friends their entire lives. They've just graduated high school, so Cath is off to college while Scott is sticking around town pursuing music. It'll be the first time they are away from each other actually having to live their lives separately, only they don't really. They share the intimate details of their separate lives with the other via letters (as people actually did in the 80s - a time with no internet, cell phones, etc). This entire novel is made up of letters between the two..even scenes where the two are actually together are told in letters after the fact reiterating what went on. This is pretty unique and takes a moment to get used to, but it truly works with the story so well. There are some great references to songs released in the 80s staying true to the time. I honestly couldn't get enough of this sweet book.

I won an ARC in a Goodreads firstreads giveaway. This has no influence on my review. Thank you to the publisher and Goodreads.
Profile Image for Mel.
878 reviews340 followers
October 9, 2018
So We Are Still Tornadoes is a book that I got sent to me unsolicited from St. Martin’s Press (thank you!!) and boy am I glad I did! This book follows two best friends, Cath and Scott, who are being separated for the first time in their lives. Cath is going off to college and Scott is staying in their home town. This book is a series of back and forth letters to one another over their first year apart and their friendships, the ups and downs in each other’s lives, and how to maintain a friendship from so far apart.

So to start, I say a lot that I don’t really find contemporary a compelling genre. Well I’m starting to eat my words because I absolutely loved this book. I am constantly reading contemporary that’s cute and maybe not something I will pick up all the time, but I like nonetheless. So I think I’ll give this genre a bigger chance and maybe start checking out authors I’ve been hesitant to read.

Anywho, I digress. This book had such a simple plot but it was so cute. I loved reading about the two lives of these characters. They were so distinct and their lives so different that I enjoyed reading it. I also enjoyed the letter style and the relationship these characters had! I think the letter style made me love this book in a way I don’t think I would have if it was a normal novel. I enjoyed that we got the short snippets and the least description possible. Letters also meant that we got a whole years worth of events without the boring stuff and we got as much as possible. I’m not sure if any of that made sense but like yeah trust me the letter style was really the best thing for this!

Characters were the best part. I related to Scott more than Cath for the most part. I felt everything Scott was feeling. I understood him and when he went through hardships I empathized with him a little more than Cath. I loved Cath still but I didn’t empathize with her. I found her a very understanding and forgiving character and while I think those are amazing qualities, I also had moments where I didn’t want her to be so kind. Their relationship was adorable and their friendship was one I wish I had with someone. Overall I just loved them.

Random last snippet, I love that the year was 1982, presumably to have it so the fact that they sent letters instead of emailed/texted make sense. I just enjoyed that little extra detail.
Profile Image for L A i N E Y.
396 reviews672 followers
January 4, 2020
This was such a surprise! I would have never known of its existence at all if it wasn’t for this book sales fair I went to, the cover was really eye-catching and I’ve been loving epistolary books of late so I got a chance to read it!

It’s light and funny but unsuperficial and sorta effecting. Not to mention fulls of smiles and cutes!
Profile Image for Fafa's Book Corner.
510 reviews297 followers
October 24, 2016
Mini review:

I received this E-ARC via Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I am quite surprised by how much I enjoyed it! I thought that due to the letter format I wouldn't be able to enjoy it that much. But wow this was so good! I felt like I was sitting with the characters and having a conversation with them. That's how well the format is done.

Definitely recommend!
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,040 reviews1,501 followers
October 19, 2016
Scott and Cath have been best friends forever. The pair grew up across the street from one another and has always been there for each other. Now Cath is headed off to college while Scott is stuck in their hometown working at his father's store and trying to pursue his musical dreams since he never took school seriously.

These two friends manage to keep in touch and stay close all throughout the year that Cath is away no matter what happens in their lives. Through all that happens in their lives whether it's heartache or hope Scott and Cath learn that the one person they always depend on is each other.

We Are Still Tornadoes is a contemporary read with a bit of a twist, the story is told through the letters that Scott and Cath write to each other during their year apart. Set in the 80's there is also a lot of musical mentions during that time to set up the time period the couple is separated which is fun for those that enjoy a flashback read.

The books started off quite hilarious but as time and events happen it turns into an emotional ride. It was great to watch these two grow and deal with all their problems together no matter what came into their lives. I just couldn't help but root for them and felt that I got to know them as people through their letters.

Overall, great read with great characters. A bit of a flashback to the 80s with the story being told through the letter writing of the two main characters.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....
Profile Image for Meredith (Slowly Catching Up).
771 reviews12.1k followers
July 29, 2016
3.5 stars

Sweet story that takes place in 1982 about two friends who realize their relationship goes beyond friendship.

When Cath leaves suburban Maryland to go to college at Wake Forest, she leaves her best friend Scott behind. Cath and Scott share all of the details of their lives via letters (as it is 1982 and texting/snap chat is not an option). Cath shares her struggles to adapt to her first year at college, while Scott writes about feeling like a loser for staying behind to work at his father’s men’s clothing store. They also share about their failed relationships and family issues.

We are Still Tornadoes is a cute and easy read. It’s missing tension/buildup between Cath and Scott, which is hard to convey via letters. I also thought that the ending felt rushed, but overall I enjoyed the book.
Profile Image for emily.
192 reviews504 followers
December 23, 2016
this was so fluffy!! and cute!!! i feel all nice and warm!!!!!!
Profile Image for catherine ♡.
1,130 reviews148 followers
April 9, 2017
Actual Rating: 3.75

This was adorable! It honestly reminds me a lot of Love, Rosie, but perhaps targeted towards a younger audience.

We Are Still Tornadoes is written entirely in letters between Scott and Cath, best friends who have lived across the street their entire lives. But now they've graduated high school, and Scott has to stay at home while Cath goes off to college. Even miles apart, they've got to deal with things like break-ups, crazy roommates, family issues, and the scariest thing of all - the future.

This was definitely a really cute story! I typically have trouble with books that are written in letter format because I feel like I miss out on a lot, but I didn't have that problem with this book. Everything seemed to be explained really well, and the book still felt like a full, fleshed-out story.

In fact, I feel like the "letter" style really worked for this because the entire book centered around Scott and Cath's relationship dynamic, and it really let the readers understand the type of friends they were. However, I do wish there was a little more "progression" in terms of their relationship. While I was reading the book, I completely understood how Scott and Cath's relationship as friends was, but there was barely a glimpse of what they would be like as a couple; as you all know, the best friends to lovers trope is one that has been used over and over again, and although it worked for this book, I wish there was more of a smooth transition; I was a little surprised when they got together because prior to that, there had been no hints that they had ever thought of each other as something other than friends. (Or maybe I'm just oblivious.)

I also wish I knew more about Scott and Cath individually. I did mention that their friendship was evident in the story, but because each letter was shared between the two of them, I didn't get to really delve into the mind of either.

The writing style was definitely a strong point; it was playful at times and serious at others, and it really incorporated all the emotions, inside jokes, and openness that existed between two best friends.

We Are Still Tornadoes was definitely a quick, light read, and I would recommend it for anyone who was looking for something that could brighten up their day.
Profile Image for Sarah.
391 reviews135 followers
February 8, 2017
3.5 Stars. If I was to describe this book in one word, it would be the word "pleasant". It's a cute enough quick read and I think YA lovers will love this book. I do like YA books but I like my YA to have quite a bit of depth to them. This book does deal with issues like death, divorce, friendships, relationships etc and that was great but I had a problem with the relationship between Scott & Cath and that affected my overall enjoyment of We Are Still Tornadoes.



The writing was good, I liked how the whole thing was written only in letters. I liked how it was set in the 80's too, it makes it stand out a little more. I liked how it was a quick read, in the past I've read books that were written only in letters and it gets old really fast when you have to read a lot of letters. The pacing was good right up until the last bit. The ending was so abrupt, I didn't like it. I liked how the title fit in with the story, it was very sweet.

I would recommend this book & I would read more from Michael Kun & Susan Mullen.

* I received an arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Do you ever have one of those days where you feel like you’re walking through a weird dream, where nothing feels right and time seems to move in really strange ways?"

"People talk to me, and I respond, but immediately afterwards, I have no idea what they said or what I said."

Profile Image for Andrea.
672 reviews103 followers
February 10, 2018
5 Stars (Yes, for a book no one’s really heard about!)

I loved the heck out of this book!! I know, it was fluffy...but fun with witty banter written entirely in letters. I AM A SUCKER FOR LETTERS. My husband & I met long distance (3,000 miles long!) writing back and forth for 2 years before we even lived in the same time zone.....paper & pen, not that fancy-schmancy instant email. (Damn I’m old!). Anyhow, 25 years and 3 kids later, we did it. We’re doing it. Which is all to say, I dig this book format. And screw the naysayers, long distance relationships can work.

But more so, the characters are genuine and funny, people I’d like to know. The story is touching and sad and full of friendship. Sigh. The perfect feel-good read.
Profile Image for emily.
126 reviews82 followers
September 3, 2016
This book was really good! The formatting makes it a quick read -- the only reason it took me over a week to finish it is because I'm back at school and I have responsibilities. Taking place in 1982-1983, We Are Still Tornadoes is the story of how Cath Osteen and Scott Agee's friendship changes after Cath goes away to college and Scott is left managing his father's clothing store in their hometown. Scott chooses not to go to college and subsequently pursues a career in music, while Cath goes away to Wake Forest University and subsequently pursues a career in cross-country and college boys.
I really loved that it was formatted entirely as letters that Cath and Scott wrote to one another. The only thing keeping me from liking this book any more is that their relationship, which turned from a friendship to a romance at the end of the book, felt forced, and like there wasn't a whole lot of physical evidence of a possible romance in their letters. I really would have loved if they had just ended with Scott going to Wake Forest and without a romance.
All in all, this book was a nice contemporary novel to balance out all of the fantasy I've been reading lately! I would recommend to people who like books formatted in unconventional ways and young adult contemporaries.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Bee.
812 reviews211 followers
October 17, 2016
Quite The Novel Idea ~ Words from the Clouds

I'm so torn right now. Because I did enjoy this, but I also... didn't. It's really hard to explain, but I'll try to do so as best as I can. After all, such is a reviewer's burden. But yes, I enjoyed this. But there were things that stopped me from loving it completely.

I feel like it's best to start with what didn't work for me. Get it out of the way, so to speak. So here we go. My main problem with this book is in the way it's told. Don't get me wrong, I like the letter stuff. And it's worked fantastically for me before. But in this one it just... made me feel disconnected from the characters for the most part. Because it's told in a letter format, I felt like I missed a lot of what happened. And some of the more feelsy stuff just didn't really get me the way it should because I felt like the story skipped over those important moments. I feel like I would have gotten more out of this story if it had only been partly letters. This could just be entirely my problem though. And though I loved the story for the most part, because of the aforementioned disconnect, the first half kind of dragged a bit for me. And with that, I also didn't really feel any connection whatsoever to ANY of the side characters. Because I never got to know them at all outside of what Cath and Scott mentioned in their letters.

But I really did like the story itself and the setting. It's set in the 80's and it has SO many great music references. Seriously. So much love for the amazing taste in music this book has. I also liked the friendship between Scott and Cath, our main characters. And I loved them too. Their voices were distinct and I rooted for them for the most part. I didn't really get into the romance because it felt a bit rushed at the end. Also, despite my disconnect with the characters, the second half really did hit me in the feels a few times.

I feel like I should say more positive things about this to convince you to read this. But I don't really have much else to say because the book itself wasn't all that long. I wanted to love it a lot, but I ended just liking it okay. But despite that, if you love YA Contemporary, give this a try. You might end up loving it more than I did. Especially if you're fond of books in this kind of letter exchange style.
Profile Image for Lisa.
809 reviews455 followers
August 14, 2016
I wasn't sure how everything would play out via letters. I was worried details or emotion would be compromised. I needn't have worried at all. It all worked together to deliver something retro yet fresh and moving but still light. Read this one!
Profile Image for Jaye Berry.
1,335 reviews120 followers
March 19, 2019
We Are Still Tornadoes is told from the back and forth letters of a girl named Cath and her best friend Scott in 1982. Cath went away to college while Scott stays at home and helps at his father's clothing store, and plays in his new band. Throughout the year they suffer family dramas, tragedies, failed relationships, and the stress of figuring out what they want to do with the rest of their lives. Throughout it all, they realize that the person they both turn to the most is each other.

This book has so many emotions through their letters, and I enjoyed their banter. Cath and Scott are funny together and I loved their friendship, and all the ups and downs they had. It felt realistic, as was the struggle of life after high school. But I didn't expect some of their drama to be as sad as it got. The shock of that didn't work for me. I'm not saying that contemporary romance novels can't have serious topics. It is just some topics are just too hard-hitting to happen in the middle of what was a cute, funny contemporary about music and college in the '80s.

I just really don't like a death thrown in just to be a plot point to lead characters somewhere else, instead of it actually feeling like the character goes through grief. Or to just add more emotional drama to make me feel sorry for characters, without actually earning it. This book did not need it- I already felt for the characters and their everyday struggles, and I didn't need a cheap death thrown at me out of nowhere. I want my romance to be cute and I want zero shocking surprise deaths, is that too much to ask?

Another issue was, most of this book was just them being best friends, and all the things they go through as friends. We never really get to see them as a couple, or really admitting their actual feelings until the end, and then the book ends. It was just so much build-up and I know the format didn't help but I wanted to see more of a relationship between them instead of a couple scribbled notes on tiny pieces of paper and the months flying by, especially after all the fighting they did.

I did like how this was college aged, and the music scene was fun but it's just when I want sad contemporaries, I go for those. When I want fluffy and cute, I go for those. I don't like them mixed up. This is all a personal me thing though, and sadly this book wasn't for me.
Profile Image for Brenda Waworga.
571 reviews654 followers
April 1, 2019
Awwh what a cute and fun read, this book has really unique format! the story told by correspondence letters between the two protagonists (Cath and scott) at first i must confessed i was boring, the conversation basically just mundane ordinary life but then when i was starting to get used to the format of the book and some "dramas" happened, i got more and more like this book! the banters were so fun and i love the characters too!!

It was definetly such a fast read

If youre looking for a fun read full with jokes and also valuable message story about friendship and Grief and Family and of course Friends To Lovers trope, you really need to put this book on your radar
Profile Image for rachel, x.
1,671 reviews853 followers
December 20, 2016
I went into this book expecting something similar to Eleanor & Park but I got something so much more. This was a brilliantly written story of a friendship that stands the tests of family scandals, long-distance, jealous girlfriends/boyfriends, and loss set in the 1980s. I honestly did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did but I found it to be such a well-written and surprisingly emotional read that I couldn’t help but fall in love with the characters.

My favourite thing about We Are Still Tornadoes was our protagonists, Scott and Cath, and their friendship. Despite this story being told entirely through letters, each character had such an amazingly distinctive voice. Scott was simply hilarious with his antics and Cath - who was struggling through her first year of college - was such a relatable and realistic presence. And their friendship was just goals. I absolutely adored that it showed the highs and lows of maintaining their relationship over a long-distance. We got to see them fight over silly things. They interpreted what each other said differently and took their teasing a little too far. But they also had hilarious inside jokes and great flashbacks scenes. It was such a realistic portrayal of friendship with nothing sugar-coated. I also loved that we explored the inevitable conflict that arises when people in such a close m/f friendship get into a romantic relationship - the jealously, the struggles, all of that. It was all so fantastically portrayed.

Unfortunately, the fact that Cath and Scott were sending letters to each other meant that we didn’t get to know our secondary characters as much as I would have liked. We only got to see them through the eyes of our protagonists which meant that we barely knew anything them on a personal level. In particular, I wanted to see Dorothy, Jane, and Samantha play a larger role in the story.

I also loved that it was set in the 80s. The constant music references were a little bit frustrating but only because I literally knew nothing about the artists/bands/songs mentioned. Luckily, my kindle has an in-built encyclopedia so I could just highlight the artist’s name and find out who they were. Oops? Anyway, I thought that the era was well-represented and added an extra layer to the story that really set it apart from the other books in the genre.

However, there was one thing that did really make irritate me: the ending. It was a tad too abrupt for my liking and it just didn’t flow on from the rest of the story. It felt a bit forced and I think that if it had been written in ordinary prose - so that we could really see what was happening and be inside the character’s head as it was going down - it would have been a lot better.

Overall?

Despite some minor complaints about the ending and secondary characters, I thought this was such an enjoyable and entertaining read. The letter format worked so well for this story and the vibrancy of the character’s voice really brought them to life. I loved Scott’s sense of humour and could relate to Cath so much. The portrayal of sensitive topics was done flawlessly. I am definitely going to be checking out more books by these authors after this.

Review copy provided by the publisher for an honest review.
Profile Image for Laura.
1,352 reviews199 followers
December 9, 2016

We Are Still Tornadoes was my first all letter format read. I mean ALL letters. It felt very voyeuristic. *eyebrow waggle* I loved it!

Readers follow Cath and Scott through their first year after high school--1982. 1982!!! Haha….the styles and music of the 80s are stamped all over this book. Especially the music! From Pop to Punk! Michael Jackson, Duran Duran and so many more. Through the year, Cath and Scott keep in touch by writing to each other non-stop. Letter to letter we learn more & more about these best friends and their lives as the seasons fly by. Cath went off to college, but Scott stayed home to work in his father’s store. So it’s a big year full of change at home and away with family and friends. Cath is away from home for the first time. Scott is working full time for the first time. They have a lot to learn! Don’t we all?!

Scott and Cath’s fast paced letter writing and sharing is chock full of laughs, loss, love, lyrics, regrets, and confessions. I loved the ride! Each letter made me see and understand Cath and Scott so clearly—see them and their friendship. Haha…Scott is such a guy! Oh, how he made me giggle. :) These two support and tease each other with nicknames and inside jokes and so much history together. You will feel how long they’ve known each other. Cath and Scott have always been there for each other as friends, but could there be something more between them?

I’m not going to lie though…I did wish at one point we got to see Cath and Scott in real time. Just once. The all letter writing style kind of builds the suspense up. You flip through the letters with such hope and anticipation. I kept waiting for just one meet up. But alas…that does not happen. I mean it when I say this is ALL letters! A style that I found very addictive and almost naughty. You know like reading someone’s diary or…mail. :D

A quick, sweet, warmhearted read.

Pick it up at your local Library.


p.s. This book might make you feel like writing a letter to a friend.

p.p.s. I loved Scott and Cath’s tradition of p.s.-ing! Very cute.


Profile Image for Shannon (It Starts At Midnight).
1,084 reviews1,010 followers
November 7, 2016
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight
I looooved this one, guys! The whole book is told in letter format, from both Cath and Scott's POV. It was so fun, and I think that it really showed their distinct personalities, which I was happily surprised by. Scott and Cath were so different, but I love that their friendship stood the test of time, while still feeling really realistic. I was rooting for Scott and Cath the entire time- it was so clear how much they cared about each other from the start. I loved that it was set in 1982, the year of my birth (and yes, there was a letter from my birthday, and yes I was way too excited about it!) because it made the letters make sense- and that they still did talk on the phone, but since it was long distance, it made the letters make even more sense! (Note: For my younger friends, "long distance" phone calls were very pricey, and you got charged per minute and it wasn't great. Hence, the letters.)

The side characters were well done too, which also was a pleasant surprise! I fell in love with Scott's dad, and Dorothy the roommate.... didn't everyone have a Dorothy at one point during college? I would really love to read more YA about this time in characters' lives- it was such an upheaval for me personally, and I feel like there are SO many stories to be told!

The letters did provide a slight disconnect during a few points in the book, but emphasis on "slight"- it was really well done overall.

Bottom Line: I fell in love with the characters, and their stories and struggles seemed so very authentic. Definitely one of my favorite contemporaries of the year!
Profile Image for Jen Ryland.
1,434 reviews899 followers
Read
October 31, 2016
Read more of my reviews on YA Romantics or follow me on Bloglovin

So ... anyone who knows my reading tastes knows that epistolary novels are really not my favorite. In spite of that, I did enjoy We Are Still Tornadoes a book that's made up of an exchange of letters between former classmates and neighbors. Cath has headed gone off to college, while Scott stayed in their hometown to work and try to get his band going. Their letters describe roommate issues, disappointing grades, family issues, triumphs and tragedies large and small. The letters are funny, wistful, sad. And this book is set in the early 80s, so there are many funny discussions of 80s music and popular culture.

A quick, cute read for those who enjoy epistolary fiction and books with a charming rom com feel!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a free copy of this book for me to review.
Profile Image for Cassandra (Thebookishcrypt).
565 reviews51 followers
September 5, 2016
*ARC provided by St. Martin's in exchange for an honest review*
Let me start this review by saying that I am rarely (by rarely I mean pretty much never) a fan of stories that don't take place in this century and aren't told in the 'normal' format. I don't have anything against these tings, it's just that something inside of me isn't as invested when I stumble upon them.
Now, considering this story takes place in 1982 and is written strictly in letters, it baffles me to no end that it has become one of the best stories I've ever read. I always respect any author (in this case, authors) that writes a story I fall in love with, but that multiplies like crazy when they manage to change my outlook on something as well. I am just glad I fell in love with the cover because if I had read the synopsis before requesting it, I don't think I would have given this a chance; And that would have been a huge mistake on my part. I just want to take a second to thank the fictional gods for my Don't Read the Synopsis rule. It saved me me in this case.
Also, I am winging it on this review because I was too busy enjoying the story to write anything down. (I know, I swear I can already see you shaking your head.)
This book follows Scott and Cath, two best friends who have been separated after graduating high school. Cath has gone to college out of state and Scott stayed at home, helping his father out with their clothing store.
My first impression of Cath being an amazing human being never wavered and I couldn't be happier about it. My admiration for her only skyrocketed as I read just how seriously she took her studies. Her personality was beautiful and Scott's only complemented it.
Scott was just... perfect, to say the least. I immediately fell in love with his sense of humor and my love only kept on growing. I loved how I could never predict what other shenanigans he would take the time to write about yet I still enjoyed them to no end. The one thing that made me even more crazy about him were his lyrics. As a former lyricist, this hit a personal chord withing me and his every lyric clawed my heart out like nobody's business. I loved witnessing how he took a personal experience, good or bad, and made it into something tremendously beautiful.
If I had to choose, I would say that their banter and loyalty were my favorite parts. I loved both of their sense of humor but Scott's stood out to me the most. It was unforgettable and had me clutching my stomach more often than not. As for their loyalty, there was no question whatsoever that they would always have each other's back no matter how hard their situations got.
They both have their own unfortunate struggles to deal with and even though we never get the details I kept yearning for, their overwhelming emotions could still be felt through their written words. We get to see them try to overcome their life experiences together while still living so far from each other. Their friendship was one of the most beautiful things I've ever witnessed and I wish I could frame their letters and spread them all across my room to be reminded of it every single day.
This story made me feel like I was actually a part of the letter exchange due to how happy they kept on making me. This was outstandingly hilarious and utterly heart-wrenching at the same time. It made me laugh and break so much that I can't remember not being in tears while reading it. The letters were fascinating to read but they could also get painful; In the best way. This story wasn't all smiles and giggles and I was ran over by the 'feels' bulldozer too many times to count. Not only was I deeply invested in these character's lives but I was also in love with one of them so seeing them go through things nobody should ever experience left me hollow to the core.
Let's move on to that ending!!!! Oh, what an ending that was!!!! I was THIS close to jumping out of my skin from how giddy and fantastic it made me feel inside. I felt like screaming and celebrating like crazy but I couldn't since it was the middle of the night and I would've woken up the entire neighborhood. I had to down it down to a crazy happy dance that I'm glad nobody got to see.
My only regret is not having asked for this baby sooner so I could have a physical copy and stroke it until the end of time. One beautiful day in the future, Scott and Cath will honor my bookshelves with their presence. I love those two so much that I feel like a limb is missing now that I finished their story.
6/5 stars!
Profile Image for Lisa (lifeinlit).
695 reviews460 followers
February 8, 2017
Adorable?! YUP!! This story was allllll kinds of adorable. From the hilarious personalities of these two besties, to the 80’s references (which I TOTALLY loved, seeing as I grew up during that time period), down to the way Cath and Seth had the kind of friendship we can only hope for. They weren’t always perfect, didn’t always say the right thing or do the best thing for each situation, but man, they were there for each other when times got tough. (And tough they did get!) I loved the fact that these two, which I loved immediately, had each other to get through life’s troubles. Having someone in your life like that to always have your back is priceless.

What an interesting format!! This entire story was told through letters. From beginning to end, nothing but letters. I was a bit hesitant at first, and honestly was hoping the letters were only in the beginning… but after a while I really started to love it!! I got to know these characters SO MUCH through their writing to each other. It was seriously done perfectly! I adored both Cath and Scott, and loved experiencing their individual personalities shine through each chapter/letter. I wouldn’t have wanted this written any other way.

Basically, to put it simply, I adored this book! I kind of wish the ending wasn’t quite as abrupt, and that everything didn’t wrap up quite so perfectly, but otherwise I really loved it to pieces. What a fun, unique and adorable story about friendship, love, and learning to be the person you want to be.

(Thanks to St. Martins Griffin for the review copy!)

Find this review and others like it at Lost in Literature!

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Profile Image for Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows).
1,530 reviews316 followers
October 13, 2016
It it wasn't for the Benadryl I took last night that knocked me out, I would've finished this book in one sitting (or laying - whatever the case may be). I'm actually surprised I didn't wake myself up when my face hit the pages, but hey, that's what the power of Benadryl can do to a person.

This book spans a year of letter writing between two long time friends as one embarks on her first year of college and the other one stays behind to work at his Dad's clothing store. This is a story about friendship, divorce, death, relationships, love and just LIFE. I LOVED all the references to the 80s music and their reactions to them - Peter Gabriel, Michael Jackson, etc. - and the lyrics written by Scott (I want to listen to his band!). I give this a full five stars because there was something so charming in the simplicity of reading the letters, a reminder of what it was like to be that age and I felt like I was actually reading real correspondence and not just a book in that format. I teared up in places but I mostly laughed - I absolutely love and relate to the humor that emanates from the pages.

I'm going to pretend that Michael Kun wrote Scott's letters and Susan Mullen wrote Cath's letters and they just bounced back and forth until this book was born. (Who knows, it may be EXACTLY the way it happened!) Susan Elizabeth Phillips's quote on the cover of "Sweet, Funny & Heartfelt" sums it up perfectly.

If you're looking for an easy, cute and happy read - please take a chance on this book - it's like a palate cleanser before you hit that next psych thriller or horror book (at least it was for me). ;)

Publishes November 1, 2016
Profile Image for Wendy Bunnell.
1,230 reviews29 followers
March 18, 2018
I loved it. An epistolary novel, a set of letters and cards and notes passed between our two 18-year-old protagonists as one heads off for college and the other stays home to work for his family's business, having not applied for colleges.

It's a slice of the early 1980s, with lots of music and pop culture references, like a 6 years earlier Eleanor and Park, with slightly older main characters.

It's about growing up and facing cold hard realities while you start 'adulting' in earnest. What does it mean to stay home when all of your friends are headed off to college? This was before the term 'gap year' existed, so Scott's experience was a different angle that people might appreciate today. The difference between these characters and my 1980s graduating class was the lack of people going into the military, as a big chunk of my classmates did that, but none of the tornadoes, apparently. Or not in Cath and Scott's circle anyway.

And Cath, going off to college while her family implodes. I had college classmates who lived that drama (not me, fortunately).

This is a beautiful slice of life, but it is epistolary, so you don't get to see the scenes, just get the after the fact accounts in the letters. I thought it was brilliant.
Profile Image for Juliana.
717 reviews1 follower
April 17, 2017
Could this book have been any cuter? A story about two friends who are split apart because one goes off to college and the other one stays home. It's completely written in letters to each other, which I loved. Scott and Cath were well-rounded characters all from letter writing! It was funny and sweet and the love between them was obvious but you know those slow burn books. You want it right away but you have to wait for the payoff.
The only faults with the book are that it's too short, the ending goes by so quickly, and everything is written in letters. While our characters were prolific, we missed out on those big details that I would have loved to read. Other than that, quick and fun read! I'd rec it to anybody who loves a good YA book.
Profile Image for Nanna.
246 reviews131 followers
November 2, 2016
oh my gosh i enjoyed this one so much! i related to so many parts and it was both sweet and heartbreaking.

this type of book is exactly what i needed. i would have liked to have some prose narrative instead of ONLY letters. it was cute though. i just an just being greedy haha

Profile Image for Syd (deertales).
292 reviews26 followers
February 6, 2017
3.5 stars! this was a really cute book and im glad i read it. i wish the ending revelation came sooner though, it was kind of abrupt and then the book was just over. but it was real and raw and enjoyable
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