Book Review: Still Life With Tornado by AS King


Still Life with Tornado

4 stars

“I am sixteen years old. I am a human being.”
Actually Sarah is several human beings. At once. And only one of them is sixteen. Her parents insist she’s a gifted artist with a bright future, but now she can’t draw a thing, not even her own hand. Meanwhile, there’s a ten-year-old Sarah with a filthy mouth, a bad sunburn, and a clear memory of the family vacation in Mexico that ruined everything. She’s a ray of sunshine compared to twenty-three-year-old Sarah, who has snazzy highlights and a bad attitude. And then there’s forty-year-old Sarah (makes good queso dip, doesn’t wear a bra, really wants sixteen-year-old Sarah to tell the truth about her art teacher). They’re all wandering Philadelphia—along with a homeless artist allegedly named Earl—and they’re all worried about Sarah’s future.
But Sarah’s future isn’t the problem. The present is where she might be having an existential crisis. Or maybe all those other Sarahs are trying to wake her up before she’s lost forever in the tornado of violence and denial that is her parents’ marriage.
“I am a human being. I am sixteen years old. That should be enough.”

This was my first experience with an A.S. King novel even though I’ve heard amazing things about the author’s other books. Now that I’ve finally read one, I definitely plan on getting to all the others hopefully soon. I really enjoyed the writing and the author’s style so I’m curious to see what else she has done.

This was one of those books where it’s hard to put into words exactly what I think in fear of spoiling key details. It’s one of those books that feels like it’s heading in one direction then swerves into another you never saw coming. It’s one of those books that goes deeper than expected.

At just over 300 pages I was expecting a quick read but it definitely was not. It’s hard and a book that leaves you emotionally exhausted by the end, but in all the best ways possible because you just read something that affecting. It’s a book that has convinced me to pick up all the author’s other titles because I enjoyed it that much.



Filed under book-related, books, reviews, talking books, ya books

4 responses to “Book Review: Still Life With Tornado by AS King

  1. Great review! I’ve been meaning to check out one of King’s books because I too have heard she’s an amazing writer, but somehow I just haven’t found the time. This sounds quite different so I think that maybe I’ll start with this.💁🏻

  2. I’m glad to hear that you liked this one. I had a difficult time really getting into it for some reason…I couldn’t connect with the main character and I felt like there could have been more detail about here that would have made her easier to relate to. I liked the sections told from the view point of her mom, though. Going through what that family had gone through is very difficult.

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