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Force of Nature (Chasing Helicity, Book One)


Force of Nature (Chasing Helicity, Book One)

Helicity's grandmother, Doris Picossi, was a physicist. The word “helicity” is a meteorological term that means "to spin in a helical or corkscrew motion." Helicity was named in honor of her grandmother who based her doctoral thesis, in part, on the term.

Helicity lives up to her name. She loves meteorology and anything to do with weather. She is a “weather junkie.” When a tornado strikes the town where she lives, she escapes the deadly winds because she is high on a hill overlooking the area when it happens. She gets some great pictures of the storm, as it grows and strengthens. It isn't until she gets back to town that she discovers her school has been badly damaged and her house has been completely destroyed.

"Author Ginger Zee is a real-life meteorologist [whose] for science and her enthusiasm for sharing her knowledge is evident throughout the pages of this book."

When the storm hits, her brother, Andy, tries to text her to see if she is okay. Before she can answer in the affirmative, the battery on her cell phone goes dead. Her brother ventures out in the storm to look for her. He is involved in a bad car accident and his arm is broken in several places. Now, her father is angry with her because she wasn't responsible enough to ensure that her cell phone battery was charged enough for them to reach her (this is not the first time that has happened). She also feels guilty because her brother got hurt because of her. He is the star quarterback on the high school team, and he has just received a full scholarship to go to college when he graduates. Now, his future and his scholarship are in jeopardy. But the photos she took of the storm catch the eye of a local storm chaser. She wants Helicity to go on a trip with her out west during the summer break. Will Helicity be allowed to go?

This is a great story with lots of action and lots of cool science facts about weather in general and tornadoes in particular. Author Ginger Zee is a real-life meteorologist who is also a “weather junkie.” Her love for science and her enthusiasm for sharing her knowledge is evident throughout the pages of this book.

Although this is a great story, overall, I have a couple of issues with it. After the storm, when the family's house is destroyed, Helicity's father has no trouble booking a room at a local hotel. I would think that after such a major event, it would be difficult to find a place to stay. That didn't seem to be the case. Also, after Helicity found out that her house had been destroyed, she didn't ask any questions about it. That seemed totally out of character for a young person. If it had been me, I would have had many questions.

This is the first book in a series about Helicity. Zee's writing style is lively and informative, she includes lots of action and tension in her story and she has left many threads hanging about what will happen next. I am looking forward to reading the next book. However, I hope the writing is a bit tighter in the next book in terms of what real people would do in real situations.

Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin on April 24, 2018

Force of Nature (Chasing Helicity, Book One)
by Ginger Zee

  • Publication Date: March 26, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Nature
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • ISBN-10: 1368049648
  • ISBN-13: 9781368049641