Thursday, April 21, 2011

TAKEN BY STORM, by Angela Morrison

Leesie is a seventeen-year-old Mormon girl who lives in a small farming community in Washington State. She’s known as the Ice Queen by her classmates because of her moral values—meaning she won’t have sex with the popular boy in school—the one who pinches her butt and tries to grope her whenever he can. The boys in school have made a game of it, and Lessie is anxious for high school to end so she no longer has to deal with him. She dreams of being admitted into BYU and moving far away.

Michael is an only child who, after his parents died in a tragic scuba-diving accident, is filled with guilt so thick he can barely breathe. He ends up in the same little farming community and is living with his grandmother. All Michael wants is to feel again, to go scuba-diving and discover the accident was a horrible nightmare, to be normal, and have his life back. He goes through the motions of life while under the influence of anti-depressants, but when his prescription runs out, he has to learn to cope on his own.

It’s on a high school field trip that he finally meets Leesie—the girl that stares at him in class. She’s not as aggressive as the girls he’s used to. Michael surprises himself by talking to her and being anxious for their next visit.

While Leesie is trying to befriend Michael, she breaks almost all of her rules. Those rules—the no dating outside of her faith, no French kissing, no making out—the rules that earned her the Ice Queen status. Michael has different values than Leesie, meaning that sex before marriage is not a big deal, he’s done it dozens of times. This rule is barely hanging by a thread, and we (the reader) wonder if Leesie will do this one last thing to prove to Michael that she loves him.

Death, grieving, friendship, respect—Morrison deals with a lot of heavy subjects in this novel, but she does it with finesse. Will Michel learn to respect Leesie and her values, or will she sacrifice everything she’s worked and longed for? This is the underlying question that is sustained throughout the novel.

TAKEN BY STORM is like no other book that I’ve read. For one, it’s written in first person, present tense. We get to know Leesie through her poetry as well as through her chatspot correspondence to a friend. The story also evolves through Michael’s dive-log entries.

TAKEN BY STORM is a good novel to read if you’re a dating teen or a twenty-something in a life-consuming relationship. It isn’t preachy by any means, but it clearly shows that mutual respect is important in a relationship, and though we love someone it doesn’t mean they’ll make us happy. Circumstances change, people change, and if we truly love someone, we’ll help them accomplish their dreams.

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