Author: Kim Askew & Amy Helmes
Publisher: Merit Press
Pages: 224 Hardcover
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review
Recently banished, unfairly, by the school’s popular crowd, former “it girl,” Miranda Prospero, finds herself in a brave new world: holding dominion amongst a rag-tag crew of geeks and misfits where she works at the Hot-Dog Kabob in the food court of her local mall. When the worst winter storm of the season causes mall workers and last-minute shoppers to be snowed-in for the night, Miranda seizes the opportunity to get revenge against the catty clique behind her social exile. With help from her delightfully dweeby coworker, Ariel, and a sullen loner named Caleb who works at the mall’s nearby gaming and magic shop, Miranda uses charm and trickery to set things to right during this spirited take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
My attempts to steer clear of Shakespeare in high school failed on most accounts but they did prevent me from reading The Tempest. However, not knowing the original play this book was based on did not hinder my opinion of it. I found Tempestuous to be funny, witty, charming, and amusing in a The Breakfast Club meets Paul Blart: Mall Cop sort of way!
Let’s start off with the main character, Miranda, because I am going to be honest, I sort of really love her. Even though we only get to see her over a short span of time (about 24 hours) she showed so many different sides of herself and had a great deal of growth & development that made her seem real and not as cliché as one would think. Sure Miranda has the slight air of prissiness and a huge ego that comes with being the former “it” girl at her school but there is more to her than that! Miranda is a truly great friend even when people get on her nerves, she is ALWAYS trying to help others out, and she seemed to push the boundaries of her “snotty, spoiled, popular, beautiful girl” image by being (mostly) kind and thoughtful in certain situations (except the situations involving her ex-friends and a moody boy but more about that later). Sure, she lets the old, snotty Miranda shine through, sometimes she gets a little feisty, and sometimes she even lets revenge on her old friends rule her actions, but all of these personality traits helped me to really believe in Miranda as a main character. No matter what the outcome of any given situation was, Miranda’s heart seemed to be in the right place. Miranda’s voice is not only real and believable throughout the whole story but it is also full of snark, sarcasm, and humor that will have you chuckling throughout the whole novel.
Miranda is trapped in the mall with the most random, dysfunctional, yet most geniusly placed group of characters I have ever “met”. First we have the jerk of an ex-boyfriend along the snobby tri-fecta of three ex-best friends. I hated them all. They are the epitome of people I stayed away from in high school. All of them thought they were so high and mighty and to be completely honest, they grated on my nerves. However, their utter rudeness was needed for this story. It shows us a real contrast to the person Miranda was before her popularity downfall and the person she is now. Next we have Miranda’s new friend and fellow corn dog dipper, Ariel. Ariel is the very definition of sugary sweet. She was a loyal friend to Miranda throughout everything even if her overly happy personality was a little hard to swallow sometimes. Regardless, she was an adorable character! Next there is Caleb, the certain moody, quiet boy who Miranda finds herself attached to throughout the duration of their entrapment. Caleb starts off as a complete mystery but he slowly grows on you and you’re able to see who he really is. I loved the tension between Miranda & Caleb! They bickered like an old, married couple; it was quite amusing. Among these awesome side characters, there also many, many more quirky, small-yet-totally-awesome-in-their-own-right characters that pop out through the story. Some of them have bigger roles than others but you are able to briefly get to know and enjoy each and every one of them throughout Tempestuous.
My favorite part of the book, aside from the incredibly awesome cast of characters, is the shenanigans they all get themselves into! The whole premise of teenagers being trapped in a mall for any given amount of time is as terrifying as it is sure to be interesting. I LOVE how Kim & Amy pulled it off. The ways the teens kept themselves entertained were hysterical to say the least. I loved the war between the nerds of the food court vs. the snobby, rich kids. I loved the impromptu games they put together. I really loved the concert that Caleb and his band put on. And I especially loved Miranda’s acts of revenge against her ex-boyfriend and former friends. Oh and let’s not forget the robber that keeps popping out of nowhere and getting away with items from the various stores. It’s safe to say that when you mix all these things together plus many more wildly crazy situations, you get a story that is ALWAYS entertaining you.
Tempestuous proved to be the PERFECT book to read over winter break (just perhaps when you are NOT at a mall while it is snowing). The random yet totally awesome cast of characters, including my personal favorite, Miranda, along with a crazy chain of events that these teens find themselves in, makes for the perfect mix of humor & tension. I strongly suggest this book if you are in the mood for a light, entertaining, and wonderfully awesome book.