Tornado Brain (Paperback)
Things never seem to go as easily for thirteen-year-old Frankie as they do for her sister, Tess. Unlike Tess, Frankie is neurodivergent. In her case, that means she can't stand to be touched, loud noises bother her, she's easily distracted, she hates changes in her routine, and she has to go see a therapist while other kids get to hang out at the beach. It also means Frankie has trouble making friends. She did have one--Colette--but they're not friends anymore. It's complicated.
Then, just weeks before the end of seventh grade, Colette unexpectedly shows up at Frankie's door. The next morning, Colette vanishes. Now, after losing Colette yet again, Frankie's convinced that her former best friend left clues behind that only she can decipher, so she persuades her reluctant sister to help her unravel the mystery of Colette's disappearance before it's too late.
A powerful story of friendship, sisters, and forgiveness, Tornado Brain is an achingly honest portrait of a young girl trying to find space to be herself. Inspired by her own neurodiverse child, Cat Patrick writes with authenticity and sincerity in her depiction of Frankie in what is ultimately a love letter to neurodiverse children everywhere.
Cat is the author of several critically acclaimed books for young readers including Paper Heart, Forgotten, Revived, and The Originals.
You can find her online at catpatrick.com.
A 2022-2023 Truman Readers Book Award Nominee (MO)
A 2021 Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year
A 2021 Texas Lone Star Reading List Pick
A 2021 Washington State Book Award for Young Readers Finalist
A Summer 2020 Kids Indie Next List Pick
A Spring 2020 Apple Most Anticipated Book
A Junior Library Guild Pick
★ “Frankie’s first-person narration is spot-on as she describes her feelings about her attention-deficit and sensory-processing disorders and her Asperger’s syndrome as well as her distaste for the medications that impair her thinking. . . This moving account of Frankie’s emerging maturity—with extra challenges—is perfect. . . An intriguing mystery embedded within a richly insightful coming-of-age story.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
★ “Patrick...has done a remarkable job of creating an unforgettable character in Frankie, who tells the story in her own idiosyncratic first person voice, which takes readers inside her head as she struggles with her many challenges. The result is a tour de force that readers will remember long after they have finished the book.” —Booklist, starred review
“Much of this upper middle grade novel’s success is thanks not just to Frankie’s nuanced portrayal, but to all the characters, who are written to be both beautiful and flawed, doing the best that they can under difficult circumstances. Author Patrick is adept at developing a seamless blend of genres, and this title is at once a coming-of-age tale, a family drama, and a mystery. . . Elementary and middle school librarians should recommend this title to fans of Rain Reign, John Green, and anyone who might see themselves reflected in Frankie.” —School Library Connection, recommended review
“Frankie’s narration is solid and plausible, remaining credibly and creditably unyielding as she deals with the world in her own way rather than mapping onto neurotypical emotions . . . A brisk yet moving story that will satisfy lovers of friendship tales and hard-won growth.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“A clever and suspenseful mystery where, in time-honored tradition, kids defy authority and solve the puzzle themselves. . . Frankie joins other memorable protagonists who are not neurologically typical, such as Willow in Counting by 7s and Rose in Rain Reign. . . The detailed setting and a strong cast of supporting characters, including the twins’ exhausted mother and a kindly boy who like likes Frankie, make this a satisfying reading experience.” —The Horn Book
“The characters are a strength in this story . . . The different ways in which people can experience anger, hope, fear, and loss are beautifully explored. This is an important book.” —School Library Journal