Taken By Storm by Angela Morrison - Sometimes only love can save you.
Leesie Hunt's Unbreakable Rules: No Kissing (at least not of the French variety)...No Sex (hah! Not even close to happening anyway)...No Dating Outside the Mormon Faith (what would be the point?)...ABSOLUTELY No Falling in Love with the Wrong Boy (would ruin everything).
Leesie thinks she has her whole life planned out: get into the school of her dreams, write her poems, meet the perfect guy, and settle down. Then she meets Michael--a boy whose parents were killed in a diving accident during a terrible storm.
Michael is drowning in tragedy. And all Leesie wants is to save him. With each day, her heart hurts more. Could it be, perfect Leesie is falling from grace? Or is she just falling in love?
But if Leesie gives in to temptation, who is going to save her? From Amazon US
As many of you probably know, I fell in love with Angela Morrison's writing when I read Sing Me to Sleep for BI&SP Month last month. That beautiful story touched me so much, I was desperate to read more, so I quickly bought Taken By Storm, Morrison's debut novel, prepared to be swept away. I am thrilled to tell you I was not disappointed! I absolutely loved this story! So much emotion, it's wonderful!
I'm going to start with the writing, because it's just brilliant. I'm not a diver, nor am I a Mormon, but you don't need to be either to follow this story. Morrison goes to great pains to make sure we understand what's going on, whether it be how a diver prepares for a dive, or the beliefs of Mormans, and it's all so fascinating! The way Morrison describes the world in our oceans is just so beautiful; you can actually see it, the reefs, the fish, the plant life. It's just gorgeous!
The structure is just genius! Most of the story is told in first person from Michael's point of view, through diary entries into his diving log, which contains details at the beginning of each entry such as dive buddy, date, dive #, location, site, etc. At the start and end of the book, those categories are all taken literally, but as time goes on, it can refer to who he's with, where, how he's feeling, and so on, and it's a great way to see Michael's state of mind before actually reading the entry. For some reason, he never capitalises "I", but it's a little quirk that makes him seem more real.
Leesie doesn't narrate at all, but we do get inside her head through the numerous poems she writes, and the online conversations she has with a friend, Kim, who lives in a different state, and Michael. For someone who isn't exactly telling the story, I found her really relatable, and feel I heard her voice just as much as Michael's. Just fantastic.
The plot is just awesome. Michael is grieving over the death of his parents, and isn't coping too well, suffering from nightmares and visions, and Leesie is the only one who can seem to keep it all at bay. However, Michael isn't used to having to control himself, so finds it really difficult to stick to Leesie's rules as a Mormon. Having been passionately in love twice before, Michael doesn't see how you can get close enough to someone to fall in love without actually loving them, like he feels so much he's unable to express it well in any other way.
Leesie knows it's possible, because of how she feels for him, and has to stop him on more than one occasion. I found Leesie's predicament really relatable. As I said, I'm not a Morman, but I do have strong morals for myself that are similar to her own to a certain degree, and can understand her having trouble balancing wanting to do what's right - or not doing what's not right - as she believes with what Michael wants and, if she's truthful, she also wants. So there's conflict in whether Leesie can actually get Michael past his grief, and if Michael can accept her rules and stick with her. Although Michael is never too much of an idiot about it all, Leesie is amazing in her strength to say "no" to him and herself and stick to her guns. I was rooting for her throughout. I have to say, this may be the only YA novel I've read so far where I haven't been going mad at the characters to get a move on, but the actual opposite.
There really isn't any way I could possibly do this book justice. It's an amazingly beautiful, powerfully emotional story that I can now add to my favourites. I'm now eagerly awaiting the sequel, Unbroken Connection, which is now avaiable as an ebook, to come out in paperback so I can jump right back into Michael and Leesie's story. Absolutely brilliant.
Published: 4th February 2010
Publisher: Razorbill US
Buy on Amazon UK
Buy on Amazon US
Angela Morrison's Website