The Year of Recommended Reading: Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms

Last year I got to participate in a ridiculously fun blogger collaboration, Tracking Down Tunes, with a ridiculously awesome blogger, Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books. As 2016 came to a close, we were chatting about how much we wanted to do another feature together, and how this one should center around books somehow.

We came up with The Year of Recommended Reads to work on getting through some of the books that have been sitting on our TBR piles forever, as well as to have a reason to force each other to read books that we think the other would like! 😉

Without further ado, the book for this month was ….

Make sure you stop by Alexa’s blog to check out her experience reading Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms!


Why I wanted to read this book:

In December of 2014, I was going through the Young Readers section of the bookstore at the end of the night (hello recovery during holiday, EEK) and my eye caught on this gorgeous faced out book called Rooftoppers. I had never seen it before, and the author (Katherine Rundell) was unfamiliar to me. I picked up the book, checked out the synopsis, and made a mental note to come back for it because it sounded magical and lovely (even though there was no magic involved in it). It ended up being one of the last books I read in 2014 and one of my absolute favorites of that year. Since then I’ve also read another of her MG books, Wolf Wilder, and loved it as well. When I saw that Alexa had Katherine Rundell on her Goodreads TBR as well, I knew I needed to put a vote in for this book!

Book Synopsis:

Even a life on the untamed plains of Africa can’t prepare Wilhelmina for the wilds of an English boarding school in this lovely and lyrical novel from the author of Rooftoppers, which Booklist called “a glorious adventure.”

Wilhelmina Silver’s world is golden. Living half-wild on an African farm with her horse, her monkey, and her best friend, every day is beautiful. But when her home is sold and Will is sent away to boarding school in England, the world becomes impossibly difficult. Lions and hyenas are nothing compared to packs of vicious schoolgirls. Where can a girl run to in London? And will she have the courage to survive?

(For more pictures of socks and books on #SockSunday, check me out on Instagram under BringMyBooks!)

Thoughts Upon Finishing:

The story in and of itself was interesting – a girl raised in the African bush sent to a British boarding school after losing both her mother and father – and the execution wasn’t lacking … but, BUT. I wanted so much more than I was given; Will is sent to the boarding school and, predictably, all hell breaks loose in her world, but so many threads are left completely unresolved at the end. I wouldn’t say that I necessarily wanted less of anything to be given more of an ending, but I will say that by the end I would have gladly read 100 more pages of this book if it could have meant more closure to Will’s story.

f you’ve never read Katherine Rundell before, I absolutely recommend starting with Rooftoppers, which is one of my absolute favorite MG novels, or Wolf Wilder – both are strong and beautiful novels from Rundell. Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms isn’t bad, per se, but in the shadow of Rooftoppers, it left a bit to be desired.

Favorite Character:

I would have to say the main character, Wilhelmina Silver, stood out the most to me – but this is probably because she was the character given the most dimension throughout the story. There were certainly good side characters – her best friend Simon being one of them – but Will was the most fleshed out and interesting character. I loved her fierceness, loyalty, and wonder at the world around her. The thing that makes her stand out the most is her inherent ability to keep this wonder even after she is taken from everything she knows into a completely foreign landscape.

Favorite Scene:

I really loved the scenes between Will and her father – they were so sweet and you could really tell how much he loved and trusted his wild daughter. The moments in particular that really stuck out were when he would come home and she would careen through the house and throw herself into his arms – what more could you want from a father/daughter relationship? <3

Favorite Quote:

“Neither could speak. It was the day that a silence settled on the pair of them, and they were bound close by it. Will felt, in that moment, too small to face such misery, but she knew that she would have to expand now, with a terrible rush, to fill the empty space.”

“It was never too late, she said, to turn a living thing around, and a garden was the most living of things.”

My Goodreads Updates:

Whoops. Totally forgot about this part … I was so involved in reading (and keeping my Bookout app updated) that I didn’t realize until after I had finished that I, uh, well, hadn’t actually updated my statuses at all for this read! I’ll do better next time, I promise!

My Rating:


Have you read this book, or any others by Katherine Rundell? What were your thoughts? If you’ve read her others as well, which was your favorite??

Bonus Bookout Infographic:

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