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Tornado Brain

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  743 ratings  ·  189 reviews
A neurodivergent 7th grader is determined to find her missing best friend before it's too late.

Things never seem to go as easily for thirteen-year-old Frankie as they do for her twin sister, Tess. Unlike Tess, Frankie is neurodivergent, with diagnoses of ADHD and autism spectrum and attention processing disorders. Frankie can't stand to be touched, loud noises bother her,
Hardcover, 286 pages
Published May 5th 2020 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
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Merenwen Hi, I'm on the autism spectrum, though not formally diagnosed because I grew up during the era of "girls don't get autism". I do consider this to be a…moreHi, I'm on the autism spectrum, though not formally diagnosed because I grew up during the era of "girls don't get autism". I do consider this to be an accurate depiction, though I don't share all of Frankie's behaviours/habits.(less)

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Average rating 4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  743 ratings  ·  189 reviews

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Jun 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Won via goodreads giveaways, all my opinions are my 0wn:)

Headache still so this will be a short review.

A couple things I thought should have been explored more but overall this was an enjoyable read.

The ending felt a bit out of place though with what happened previous in the story, had me scratching my head a bit.

It did keep my attention, I was fully immersed in the story.. just wish I had loved it more.
Ms. Yingling
Feb 08, 2020 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Frankie is very different from her twin, Tess. She is on the autism spectrum and has ADHD. She tries to moderate her behavior, because her mother has made a deal with her that she won't have to take medication if she can, but it's hard. She's bothered by scratchy clothing, distracted by noises, and has a hard time reading her friends. Tess, on the other hand, is popular at school. They had a friend in common, Colette, but Frankie overhead her saying mean things ab
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Growing up in the midwest = tornado awareness. As a little girl I remember my father showing me a tornado that was lurking up in the sky just miles from our farm. So, I found this pairing of tornado facts/myths with Frankie's neurodivergent condition to be a fascinating premise. On top of that Frankie is a fraternal twin as I am. Many factors connected me to this book, but Cat Patrick's writing made the book amazing. The story is told from Frankie's perspective. We spend about a week plus the ep ...more
Shaye Miller
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Don’t let that cutesy cover fool you, there’s more than meets the eye in this hard-hitting story. Tess and Frankie are fraternal twins, but Frankie will openly share that she has certain needs that Tess does not. For example, Frankie doesn’t ever like to be touched, loud noises bother her, and she needs a very reliable routine. Frankie is also well aware of the fact that she has trouble making friends. That’s why she’s so bothered by the fact that Colette is no longer her friend. And why is that ...more
May 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
Life is more difficult when you don't like to be touched, get easily distracted, and have difficulty containing your emotions. It's especially difficult to make friends. Frankie used to be friends with her perfect twin sister Tess and her best friend since forever Colette. But things are different now. After Colette goes missing, Frankie and Tess band together to find her and in the process they'll maybe just understand each other a little bit better.

It took a little while to get into Frankie's
Laura Gardner
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Tornado Brain by @authorcatpatrick is STUNNING with a neurodivergent MC who is obsessed with tornados (and sometimes feels like one herself). Frankie's big emotions and sensory processing difficulties make friendship hard, but she did have two best friends once -- her twin sister and Colette. Now Colette has gone missing and the twins are the only ones who might know where she's gone. As someone who knows and loves someone who is neurodivergent, this felt spot-on and led to great conversations i ...more
In the coastal community of Long Beach, Washington, 7th grader Frankie is neurodiverse. She doesn't like touch, or loud sounds, and often says what's on her mind even though she may get in trouble. After a falling out with her twin sister Tess and best friend Collette, Frankie's world becomes even more difficult. Soon afterwards, the town discovers that Collette is missing and Frankie may be the only one to figure out what has happened to her. This is a wonderful, sad, and yet very heartwarming ...more
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow, wow, WOW! This was an excellent middle grade mystery story featuring a neuro-divergent main character. The writing style puts you in the main characters brain and really displays the challenges of living with neurological differences. Highly recommend!
Apr 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
I received an ARC of this book. Once I started reading it, I had trouble putting it down. It is the story of a couple of twin middle school sisters who have a missing friend. The book is written from the perspective of the sister who is neurodiverse. She thinks she knows what the friend was doing and where she might be but she has trouble vocalizing her thoughts. The author does a great job of putting you inside her head. The story does deal with some heavy situations and I'd encourage parents t ...more
Lex Musler
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book! Great story and very well written. The characters and plot were both fantastic, the ending was the perfect way to resolve everything, and I was hooked all the way through. I read the book in 1 night!
Theresa Grissom
Sep 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wow. Ok, let me go throw away the box of tissues I went through and I'll be back to write my review... So, I loved this story. It gives insight into the minds of neurodivergent people. I happen to know several (none very well) and this book helps me to understand their personalities a lot more. Loved all the characters in this story and the friendships, especially between the sisters. To me this book is on the border between middle grade and young adult and I will have it in my elementary librar ...more
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I highly recommend this book! It focuses on a neurodiverse child and gives insights into how these children think. Having neurodiverse children, and being neurodiverse myself, I felt this book was very insightful, and can be helpful to neurotypical people in understanding a different way of thinking!!
Cassie Thomas
Jun 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“My grieving wasn’t the same every day. And it wasn’t the same s anyone else’s way of handling it. It wasn’t wrong or right. It wasn’t abnormal or normal.
It just was.”

A story that so much connects tornadoes to grief, I found myself making all the connections at the end. A story of friendship, differences, acceptance, and most of all, understanding. Frankie and Tess are twin sisters who are both very much different. Frankie struggles with expressing herself to others on a daily basis, as someone
Jenna D.
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Call it premature, but Tornado Brain is guaranteed to be my favorite pick of 2020. This middle grade book about neuro-diverse Frankie in the aftermath of her ex-best friend’s disappearance is one of the most well-written fiction stories I have ever read about a differently minded character. The mystery is smart, the relationships and interactions are believable, and the research for this book is palpable. I have not read a more emotionally impactful book in years. On a personal note: As someone ...more
I started this book when I wasn’t quite ready, but I came back to it and I’m so glad I did. The mystery of the plot, the true nature of friendship in early adolescence, and in particular the honest and positive portrayal of someone on the spectrum come together in a way that is a perfect addition to any middle grade collection.
Jul 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
This one was great for my kids. One of my children has a few of the same diagnoses as Frankie does and it was really great to see him represented in a book. I haven't come across a middle grade book with Sensory Processing Disorder before and I am so glad this is out there. This is a solid book on neurodiversity. ...more
Jan 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this realistic fiction book who follows seventh graders Frankie and her twin sister Tess. Both sisters were friends with Collette who has gone missing and both girls saw her the night before her disappearance. The twins are polar opposites with Tess being outgoing and Frankie more reserved with a sensory disorder. Can the twins help find their friend before it is too late?
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mg
Enjoyed the audiobook edition of Tornado Brain in which the main character, an autistic 7th grader living with sensory processing disorder and ADHD tries to solve the twin mysteries of the end of her friendship with her best friend and the sudden disappearance of that friend. Frankie is bright, relatable, and determined to avoid having to take the medication that treats her impulsivity and occasional screaming meltdowns (tornados, when she has reached her limit of stimulation) but that makes her ...more
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ms-appropriate
I loved every single thing about this book.
Jun 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Wow this book was really good. It's one of the only books I've ever read that directly deals with (view spoiler) Would definitely recommend. The beginning is a little slow, but once you get past that it's really good.

Good book!
This story has a great premise. I was excited to read a book about an autistic student. This had a mystery in the story as well. I really liked the character Frankie and the author did a great job at building her character. However, the story seemed to drag in parts, especially when the story went back in time. I felt I wasn't really caring about the relationships in the past. ...more
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
YES YES YESSSS! A book featuring a neurodiverse female character that NAILED it without an inappropriate or otherwise offensive underlying message not-so-subtilely making her out to be a nuisance to all the NT folks OR requiring her to have a super power or be a savant in order for readers to be encouraged to actually value her like SO MANY other books that try and fail! THATS A BIG WIN AND THIS IS A GEM OF A BOOK. It’s a story about friendship and loss and navigating the dramas of middle school ...more
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lled-7400-read
In a time where embracing differences is ever so relevant, Cat Patrick’s novel, Tornado Brain
captures those differences in particularly revealing ways. The main character, Frankie, a
neurodiverse teen, gets involved in the mysterious disappearance of her former best friend. With
the help of her twin sister, Tess, a story of unique perspectives, grief, and hope comes about. As
a recent former middle school teacher, I found Patrick’s book to be very relevant for this age
group and written in a way tha
Melanie Dulaney
Excellent book with a neurodiverse main character who, in process of helping to find a missing friend, learns that she has value and that her sister really is a good friend and advocate. The storyline was engaging and will likely keep most grade 6-9 readers intrigued as a town searches for a missing girl. The added benefit to all will be a greater understanding of what it like to be in the shoes of someone who has sensory processing difficulties. I would highly recommend this book to libraries s ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Tornado Brain by Cat Patrick, 286 pages. G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2020. $18. Content: G.



13yo Frankie is neurodiverse - she is very different from her twin Tess. Frankie doesn't like to be touched, is distracted by noises, has special accommodations in school and has only 1 friend. Colette. But Colette is also friends with Tess. When Frankie overhears Colette say something mean about her, Frankie stops hanging around with them. Now Colette is
I received an electronic ARC from Penguin Group through NetGalley.
Though the book begins slowly, it draws readers in to Frankie's world. She struggles with several conditions and doesn't view the world in a "normal" way. Frankie and her twin sister, Tess, are near the end of their seventh grade year. Frankie is fascinated and fixated on tornadoes and each chapter begins with a fact about them that will connect to the action in the story. Readers see Frankie struggle to understand other people's
Michele Knott
The story is told by Frankie, who is neurodiverse and is the first to tell you that things are complicated. She has typical friendship issues that are made more complicated by how she views life. In fact, her friendships are so complicated, she's not speaking to her best friend. Who seems to have been taken over by another two girls... one of them being Frankie's twin sister. But then her best friend disappears. And the reason she disappears may have something to do with Frankie.
This is absolute
Rachel 007
Oct 04, 2020 rated it liked it
I wanted to love this. I just...didn't. The writing was very good and the story kept me engaged, but I felt Frankie lacked...something? ...more
THS Library
Jul 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Thirteen-year-old Frankie is obsessed with tornadoes and has a twin and is on the autism spectrum. That is all you need to know about her. She definitely is not friends with Collette because two months ago, everything changed. Frankie doesn’t get along with everyone like her twin sister, Tess, does, but she doesn’t say “sorry” as much as Tess, either, so that has to count for something. Even though it is a struggle to get through the day and remember everything her therapist tel
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
At first, I thought this book was going to be pedestrian. Patrick sets up the motif of the tornados, Frankie's favorite topic and a metaphor for her interior life, very deliberately, and the exposition felt a bit explain-y about Asperger's, ADHD, and sensory processing disorder and how they affect Frankie's day to day experiences. But the novel sneaked up on me, and soon I was enamored of Frankie's voice. She was alternately wry, dispassionate, anxious, and angry. Patrick gives her interior life ...more
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Cat Patrick is the author of middle grade books Tornado Brain and Paper Heart, as well as young adult books Forgotten, Revived, The Originals, and, with Suzanne Young, Just Like Fate.

Find her online at

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