The book series opens on our protagonist, Jess Mastriani, getting into a fight over her best friend, Ruth. Jess is a tomboy, who constantly gets into fights at school, causing her to have detention everyday. While she sees these fights as justified, the teachers and guidance counselors see them as her allowing her temper to get the best of her. She defends those who aren’t able to defend themselves. This is a recurring theme in the series.
At the end of the school day, after her detention, Jess expects Ruth to drive them home. Ruth, however, has decided to walk home. Just as it starts hailing, they take cover under metal bleachers, and Jess is struck by lightning. Thus our story begins and Jess develops extrasensory perception to find missing kids. She wakes up the next morning knowing where two missing kids from the back of a milk carton are. Jess is an all around strong, kick-butt character who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty or handle things on her own.
Her story isn’t without romance though. Her crush, Rob Wilkins, whom she met in detention, is a bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks and is eighteen, two years older than Jess. And to top it all off, he’s on probation. Ruth comically refers to him as “The Jerk”.
As the series progresses we see Jess save lives, almost gets killed, arsons, and deal with her great aunt Rose. The series has a wide range of locations — from her small town in Indiana, to the summer camp she is a counselor at, to the back woods of her town, to New York and a Military base, and to a biker bar named Chick’s. Jess is never at a loss for words or adventure, almost always with Rob or Ruth tagging along behind her.
This book series is well written, diverse, and without a doubt one of my favorite book series. I would recommend this series to anyone looking for realistic young adult science fiction or wild adventure.
∼ Bistany, Nevins Library Page
First in series: When Lightning Strikes by Meg Cabot