The Storm Makers by Jennifer E. Smith
Ruby and Simon are twelve-year-old twins who have recently moved from Chicago to a farm house in Wisconsin. Their parents are supposed to be supporting the family by farming while waiting for their Creative Pursuits to take off, but the crops are doing poorly due to a drought and the creative ventures aren’t going so well, either. Ruby, a budding scientist who loves helping their inventor father, hasn’t made friends here in the country, while Simon fits right in with the baseball crowd. This leaves Ruby feeling isolated from her twin for the first time. Such is the scene when Simon gets a fever that coincides with an enormous thunderstorm. Even when he recovers, he starts shorting out appliances and cars just by touching them. While Simon’s in the hospital with the fever, a kind-looking man with a battered hat named Otis introduces himself. He says that he, like Simon, is a Storm Maker, and he is here to help Simon, coming into his powers unusually young, learn to control them. He gives Ruby a tiny barometer whose dial shows events on the way rather than weather. But by the time Simon is awake, Otis is gone, and another Storm Maker comes to their rendezvous instead. His name is Rupert London. He tells Simon that he has the potential to be the most powerful Storm Maker ever, and invites Simon to come back to Chicago with him for training at the official secret Storm Maker headquarters. Simon is flattered by his attention, but Ruby takes an immediate dislike to him when he burns down a farmer’s field as a demonstration of his power. Meanwhile, the twins have taken a summer job together helping out the local mechanic, Daisy, who also turns out to be a Storm Maker. Will Simon and Ruby find out who to believe – and how to control Simon’s powers – before it’s too late?!
This was a pleasant read, though it didn’t knock my socks off. It was nice to see Ruby and Simon get closer to each other again over the course of the book. It was of course obvious from the beginning who the bad guy was, and Simon makes and Ruby allows a quite dangerous decisions fairly early on. Kids of the intended age will likely enjoy it just fine, especially if they are interested in weather and mechanical science.