Monday, July 21, 2014

A Trip, A Tornado, and A Great New Read

This year, we found ourselves celebrating the 4th of July deep in America's heartland--Goodland, Kansas, to be exact. We found ourselves there because it was exactly halfway between our home and my sister's home in Arkansas. With four kids in tow, we drove across Utah and into colorful Colorado (that's what their signs say), enjoying the scenery and great weather.

                                                         (Good thing I washed my feet.)

It started to rain as we passed through Denver, and the rain clouds followed us. Being the awesome mother that I am, I started hinting to my kids about the possibility of tornadoes the second we crossed the Kansas border. (You may remember me mentioning before that I sometimes like to scare the crap out of my kids. Hee hee!)

One thing we've learned is that no matter where you are in our great country, there are good people who enjoy celebrating their freedom just like us. Goodland is a smaller town, but we were excited to find out that there were concessions, rides, music, and fireworks at the local fairgrounds. Having been to a Kansas County Fair on a previous road trip, and knowing they raffle off cool things, such as cows, we packed the kids back into the car and got ourselves down to the fairgrounds.

                                                         (The calm before the storm.)

We'd just gotten to the party when the first rumbles of thunder sounded and the sky darkened drastically. I'd heard that tornadoes come when the sky turns green. It hadn't turned green yet so I figured we were safe. But, after being at the fair for exactly five minutes, the skies opened up and giant raindrops (Seriously, each drop was like an entire tablespoon of water!) began to fall. Screams and yells erupted from the crowd as everyone ran for the parking lot. We figured if the locals were running, we should, too. Lightning strikes were everywhere and thunder roared as we ran for our car. I think my kids thought the world was ending for sure. And I'll admit, I kept one eye on the sky, thinking I might see Dorothy or Toto float by.

Alas, the rain continued for at least an hour causing us to miss out on 4th of July fireworks this year, but we did NOT experience our first tornado. Later on the trip we drove through a town in Arkansas that had just been devastated by a tornado and it was sickening. I guess it's something we can live without seeing.

Anyway, after returning from our trip, a recently released book on Goodreads caught my eye. The book takes place in Kansas and tells the story of one town's experience when a tornado strikes. I messaged the author, James Marie York, and she gladly shared her book with me. (Fun fact: Jamie York has been married for 14 years and has 3 boys, just like me.) I read Nowhere I Know this weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Here's the blurb of Nowhere I know, by James Marie York:
What happened? How did we get here? Those are the two main questions that have been asked since we all realized we were no longer in Kansas. Us, our homes, streets, buildings, cars, I guess pretty much everything came with us, too. Which also leaves us the questions - what did we leave behind and how are we going to survive? 
When it started, most were outside looking to the sky. It was tornado season and watching for tornadoes is how most people passed the time. Seriously, it was that or watch the wheat grow – which do you think you would do? Small town life is great in some ways, but entertainment is not one of them. Try being a 17 year old in a town of 1000 that has one grocery store, one convenience store, a library, 9 churches and 3 bars. You take your entertainment were you can find it. 
Especially if you are like me; I don't have a lot of friends, let alone a boy friend. I am one of those kids that spends my time with my head either in front of a computer or buried in a book. I’m sure you know the kind – the ones that seem nice enough, but you don’t really know? Yea, that's me. 
I don’t know if that has made all of this easier or harder on me. I was lucky enough to have one of my friends hanging out with me that afternoon. He knew how scared I was of storms, so he stopped by to keep me company. I don’t know if I should feel guilty that I’m so happy he is here, but I don’t. I’m just glad someone is with me.
Everyone always said that we were safe from tornadoes. Some Indian legend about the way the creeks crossed or something. I, for one, thought they might be right. Our little town had been in the same place for over 140 years without getting hit, so really, what were the odds of it happening now, right?"

***My Thoughts***

Nowhere I Know is the Wizard of Oz for a new age. James Marie York, does a great job of creating a new world inside of an old one. Her descriptions of the "new" surroundings produced colorful pictures in my head and her characters are likable enough that you actually care about what happens to them. There are many moments in the book where she creates suspense and you can't stop reading until you know how the conflict is resolved. I'll definitely read the next book to come from James Marie York! If you like to read Young Adult books, I recommend this one.

You can purchase Nowhere I Know over at Amazon and you can learn more about Jamie and her book by visiting her website.  Right now she's doing a giveaway for 2 SIGNED PAPERBACKS! Don't miss out!

1 comment:

  1. Glad you didn't actually see a tornado! Thanks for the tip on the book, I'll have to check it out.