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We Speak in Storms

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  440 ratings  ·  109 reviews
A powerful and haunting debut novel about friendship, acceptance, and learning to let go as the balance between the living and the dead is upended, perfect for fans of We Were Liars.

It's been more than 50 years since a tornado tore through a drive-in movie theater in tiny Mercer, Illinois, leaving dozens of teens -- a whole generation of Mercerites -- dead in its wake. So
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published September 3rd 2019 by Philomel Books
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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This is the synopsis of this book:
A powerful and haunting debut novel about friendship, acceptance, and learning to let go as the balance between the living and the dead is upended, perfect for fans of We Were Liars.

It’s been more than 50 years since a tornado tore through a drive-in movie theater in tiny Mercer, Illinois, leaving dozens of teens — a whole generation of Mercerites — dead in its wake. So when another tornado touches down in the exact same spot on the anniversary of this small-tow
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-2
This debut was terrific! Fifty years ago, a tornado tore through rural Illinois, killing fifty teenagers in a small town. The memories of that day haunt the town, and local lore talks of ghosts who haven’t yet moved on. Fifty years later, another tornado comes. This is an interesting tale that’s perfect for a cool fall day, part ghost story, part a story of growing up and not fitting in. It chronicles the story of three teens who are dealing with complex, painful struggles in their lives and at ...more
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
three words: tornado. ghost. book.

put this hauntingly beautiful magical realism story on your radar - full review to come!
Diana • Book of Secrets
A touching story about friendship and connecting. Made me teary-eyed at the end. Not at all like We Were Liars (as the blurb hinted at), but that's fine. It had its own haunting, unique message.
✨Brithanie Faith✨
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
5/5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

We Speak In Storms by Natalie Lund is an absolutely stunning debut novel about friendship, acceptance, and learning to let go.

Fifty years after a tornado tore through a drive-in movie theater in Mercer, Illinois, killing an entire generation of Mercerites- another tornado touches down in the exact same spot, leaving the small town visibly shaken. When three teens (who seem to share nothing more than a struggle to bel
We speak in storms
So I recieved an amazing book recentky "We Speak In Storms" by the author Natalie Lund for an honest review.
I give the book 5/5 solid stars.
The whole story is about the Midwestern Town that has had a strike for many times and tornadoes hit 50 years again after the last one where there weren't any injuries but witnesses.
So the story is told from three perspectives and I enjoyed all three of them.
I could sense the unique story the author has written, I cried not ones but several
Caidyn (he/him/his)
CW: sexual assault, cancer, grief, loss, homophobia, cheating, and death of a parent

I received a finished copy from the publisher for an honest review!

If y’all like crying, this is the book for you. I’m not a huge crier with books – I’ll tear up, but I won’t sob – but I was crying. There were tears throughout the book. As I said, it is one of those books. Yet, it’s also a book that is so hard to explain and I know that this review is going to do its best to be collected and cohesive, but it’s pr
alana ♡
"We are many. Fifty-four buried in 1961. Another fifty who made it home with all or most of our bodies, and countless others - friends, parents, lovers - who lived on but because ghosts anyway, always waiting, always aware of the spin."

Be still my beating heart! This was so good and now I'm just reduced to a puddle of tears because I was not expecting this. This is a story about love, loss, hope, and forgiveness served with a side of ghosts and tornadoes. What's not to love?

I'm not going to lie,
Renee Godding
4.5/5 stars

Full review to come
I loved this book, and I loved it because it was a meaty book filled with my favorite things: small midwest towns, tornados, three very different (and diverse) main characters, ghosts, grief, and regret. Fifty years after Mercer's infamous, deadly tornado, another tornado rolls through, waking the ghosts of those who died in the first storm. The ghosts become close companions to Callie -- currently losing her mother and so much of her stability to cancer; to Joshua -- coming out as gay, in a fat ...more
Just a quick mention: I'm supremely sensitive to books with disordered eating. I didn't know that it was going to be included this one, but I went in, still trying to give this a go. The main character that had it was more focused on wanting to feel empty than other reasons for eating disorders. I was able to read through, but I want to make sure others know ahead of time. Please, make sure to read through the rest of the trigger warnings at the bottom of this review since, seriously, there was ...more
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
Trigger warnings:(view spoiler)
Diversity: gay main character, fat main character, biracial main character (half-Mexican, half-American).

A lovely surprise and wonderful debut overall, a little heavy to read at times but still wonderful. Loved the writing, the story and the characters, their relationships and growth was won
Rebecca McKanna
Sep 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written meditation on grief, love, and the places that make us who we are. This book flips the David Foster Wallace quote, showing us how every ghost story is really a love story. A must-read for literary YA fans and people who enjoy sharply drawn teenage protagonists.
Jessica (The Psychotic Nerd)
This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd

I did not find out about this book until right before it came out (which meant that I did not have to wait long to read it!). I immediately found the synopsis intriguing. I love stories featuring magical realism and midwestern settings! 

Over 50 years ago, a tornado devastated a small town after hitting a drive-in, killing almost an entire generation. Everyone in the town knows someone in their family who died that day and e
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book that will echo with me for a while because of the richness of its three main characters, their gentle and heartfelt contending with the past, and its grace in handling the resurfacing of a tragedy in a small Illinois town fifty years later. Natalie Lund has created three teen protagonists who could each have carried a book themselves as rich, flawed, and tough young people, but the confluence of events that bring them together weaves together a story even more powerful than it would be se ...more
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book somehow pulled a 4 star rating out of me even though I can't quite put my finger on a single contributing factor. I'm a sucker for a Midwest setting and then throw in a natural disaster and I'm all in, apparently. I liked how the story started off with a strong thread toward the 1961 tornado and then slowly evolved into being more of a story about the current teenagers of Mercer, Illinois.

Not quite adult and yet not quite true YA either, this book has a chance for crossover appeal if
Maddie Rose
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
I don't tend to read magical realism that often, but I saw this on the shelf and thought, "what a great way to start out my spooky-ish October reading". I get really scared by the slightest things, so I thought that this book would be a nice balance of mystery, but not to scary.
Now that I've read it, I still think that it wasn't that scary, which was good for me, but I found a bunch of other problems with it that just prevented me from enjoying this book.
Problem One: this really is just a perso
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
We Speak in Storms by Natalie Lund, 451 pages. Philomel (Penguin), 2019. $18.

Content: Language: R (37 swears; 7 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG-13; Violence: PG-13.



Three teens who are fifteen and sixteen, feel a pull to figure out what happened to some teens who were killed in a tornado fifty years ago. Brenna Ortiz feels lost since her boyfriend dumped her and she meets a girl named Dot, who seems to understand Brenna in a way nobody else does.
Jan 27, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
"...magical realism..."

Sign me the frick up.
Jessica Rushing
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.25 out of 5 stars.

On the surface, this book is about awkward teenagers going through trials and finally coming into themselves.

But the power in this book!

The struggles are valid, and the book was...wait for it...poignant. There's that word that many people use to describe so many books that it's lost it's intended effect. But it is a truth for this book. From "affecting or moving the emotions."

There's Brenna - a Mexican-American teenager who doesn't fit it. Her Hispanic fami
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtqiap, 2020
This is such a strong debut. I think it really hits the mark when it comes to feeling mostly like a YA contemporary with some speculative/supernatural elements thrown in.

Brenna, Joshua, and Callie are not friends. But after a huge storm comes through town on the 50th anniversary of a deadly tornado, their lives become intertwined. As they each deal with difficult things in their own lives (Joshua: coming out and being bullied, Callie: an disordered eating and a parent with a terminal illness, a
Samantha (WLABB)
A very quiet book, that will sneak up on you, and hit you in the feels.

A half a century after a tornado left many bodies in its wake, three teens, each struggling with something, connect with people from that past event, as well as each other. Through these connections, they are able to work through their pain, and come to terms with these difficult parts of their lives. Their stories were pretty heartbreaking, and there were tears from me, but in the end, I appreciated the bond they formed, an
Roberta R. (Offbeat YA)
Mini-blurb: The lives - and unlives - of six (often diverse) characters get intertwined in a coming-of-age story about acceptance and forgiveness.


Quiet (if potentially heartbreaking at times) and lyrical, especially in the sections where the dead comment on the past and - ultimately - on the present, much like the chorus in a classical tragedy. Not so much a friendship story, as a tale of three outcasts coming together via a series of unusual circumstances and learning to support each other,
Sim Kern
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m finally bookstagramming my OcTBR reads! (Badly, bc it’s now November). This lovely, lightly supernatural YA was a perfect read for cozy-spooky fall vibes. The ghosts of Mercer communicate and travel to the world of the living through tornados (how cool is that?) Three ghosts find three teenagers who badly need a little supernatural guidance in navigating some of life’s most difficult challenges. A beautiful book that often made me tear up. Lund’s prose is gorgeous yet accessible, and I was s ...more
Jun 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written story of how important it is to not only find yourself..but even more important to find friends worth fighting for. The book was filled with very descriptive text that easily let the reader form pictures of a small mid-west town...a deadly tornado... three very different and diverse main characters...ghosts...bonds of friendship... grief, and regret. I know without a doubt that this book will reach and touch teen readers but it also has the ability to appeal to the adults i ...more
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Straight up the best book of all time!! Started reading this and could not put it down for the life of me!!
Beth Dettman
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved the characters in this one. The plot was cool, too. I had a hard time putting it down.
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
A lot sadder than I expected, I would've liked to have seen more focus on the paranormal. Moving story, poignant message about death.
Sarah Murphy Traylor
Beautiful debut. Characters with depth and warmth and charm. This book made me cry and smile and celebrate.
John Clark
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book gives the old expression 'he didn't stand a ghost of a chance' a whole new meaning. It's also not an easy story to categorize. Yes, it's a ghost story, but it's also a love story, one about healing and certainly a coming of age story. All of these elements are masterfully blended to create a tale that's compelling and emotional. It's very satisfying, features a large cast of very sympathetic characters and leaves the reader smiling, if not trying to hide a tear or two. I look forward t ...more
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Natalie Lund is young adult author and a former middle and high school teacher. She graduated from Purdue University’s MFA program, where she taught introductory composition and creative writing and also served as the fiction editor of The Sycamore Review. Her debut novel, WE SPEAK IN STORMS, is on sale September 3, 2019. Natalie is a member of SCBWI and is represented by Sarah Davies of Greenhous ...more

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