Friday, June 6, 2014

Review: Tempestuous


Publisher: Merit Press
Release Date: Dec. 18, 2012
Page Count: 222
Favorite Quotes:

"'Yo, Einstein, we lost cell reception about two hours ago...The ability for anyone in our generation to self-amuse has sadly been bred out of our species. I blame Bill Gates.'"

"It wasn't as if that moment, shoving a bag of foam peanuts behind my back, suddenly made him the picture of gallantry. He was still as willful and hotheaded as I could be; a tempestuous soul who navigated his life with cynicism and a paucity of words."

I was thrilled when I was offered a free review copy of this book (thank you!), as my students and I had just finished Act I of The Tempest. Before this year, I'd never read The Tempest, I'd only seen the play.

However, if you haven't read the play, you will still get this book! The plot, though the same at its basic level of an outcast who wants revenge, is completely modernized and totally relateable. 

Set in a mall where employees must hunker down for the night because of an impending snow-pocalypse, Tempestuous explores what it's like for a girl on the top of her school's social ladder to drop to the bottom rung because of a poor decision. The other workers know not of Miranda's money-making faux paux that resulted in major punishments for several of the school's jocks, including her once-Ivy League-bound boyfriend, and they have dubbed her Advice Queen. She's made a cozy home away from home for herself at her forced fast food punishment, despite the ugly hat with spinning weiner and primary color striped uniform. Not only does the mall go into lock-down mode when the weather takes an ugly turn, her old group of friends and ex-boyfriend are stuck in it too, slinging insults her way at every opportunity. Miranda decides to take revenge into her own hands by getting back at Rachel, her ex-best friend, and the -Itneys (Whitney and Britney). When employee Mike goes missing and a thief jacks high priced computer items, the mall's temporary residents must also figure out how to catch a criminal.

What I Loved:
1) The frequent but not overdone allusions to Shakespeare's play. If you haven't read or watched the movie of that first and have the time, do it! From character names to descriptions to storm-related words, this modern retelling cleverly weaves references in that will make you grin.

2) Character development. Loved Ariel, Miranda's co-worker (and consequently the fairy in The Tempest). She's small, spritish, and a sheltered home-schooled girl. You'll delight in the shenanigans she participates in to help Miranda get revenge on the -Itneys. Not only do you see Miranda grow and change, but also Caleb (whom Miranda happens to be handcuffed to and is full of his own surprises) and some of the minor characters. Sweet love stories develop with two girls in the book.

3) Revenge plots. They are awesome, but mostly glittery and furry.

4) I couldn't guess the thief!

5) The things the teens do to keep busy. Basically, the mall becomes chaos and every group for itself. From inventing new sports with mop buckets to celebrating Ariel's birthday, the characters have a wild and exhausting night of fun despite looming danger. I just kept thinking, "Are they going to have to pay for using/eating/destroying that?"

6) This puts a spotlight on really positive teen traits: creativity, talented, inventive, and clever.

Things That Bugged Me:
1) My favorite love story sort of ends before it really gets off the ground, BUT it's still sweet.


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