Cover image for Too big a storm
Too big a storm
Qualey, Marsha.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Dial Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
246 pages ; 24 cm
When serious worrier Brady Callahan meets vivacious Sally Cooper, daughter of a wealthy Minnesota family, they develop a close friendship that helps they both grow and survive during the turbulent Vietnam War era.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.1 10.0 77565.
Format :


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Y FICTION Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Astronauts have taken the very first steps on the moon, yet Brady Callahan feels anything but hopeful. Her brother, an army private, is missing in Vietnam and she's stuck at home in Minnesota, worrying about him and not knowing how to make a difference.

Two newcomers in her life will help her find her path, though. There's the outspoken, charismatic Sally, who becomes entangled in a dangerous underground rebellion. Sally challenges Brady's practical nature and pulls her out of her shell enough to act on her attraction toward Mark, a young Vietnam vet who is as quiet and sensible as Sally is brash and risk-seeking. Through these relationships, Brady will find a way to feel at home in the storm of her troubled times&150to feel hopeful and to claim some happiness for herself.

An absorbing picture of the complicated Vietnam War era, Too Big a Storm is also a moving portrait of the healing power of family and friends, and of one exceptional young woman's self-discovery.

Author Notes

Marsha Qualey the author of seven other acclaimed young-adult novels,

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 10-12. In the summer of 1969, men have walked on the moon, and in Minneapolis, 18-year-old Brady is also stepping into new territory. Since her father's death, Brady has felt the weight of worry--for her two younger brothers, her clients at the community center, and her brother, Will, missing in Vietnam. Then she meets Sally and Paul Cooper, young, rebellious heirs who are enfolded into Brady's loving family even as they introduce her to 1960s drug culture, fluid romances, and civil disobedience. Sally's increasingly radical protests and the FBI's search for Will play out against Brady's own self-discovery as she begins college and falls in love. Dense, episodic, and reflective, Qualey's latest novel will appeal most to older teens. But in small details and larger events that parallel history, it captures the wild anguish of the times, including a glimpse of war's indelible aftermath. Its wholly appealing characters, including smart, nearly-too-perfect Brady, who struggles to balance responsibility and self-discovery, will also resonate with many readers. --Gillian Engberg Copyright 2004 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-The end of the 1960s as an era of social and political upheaval and change, spurred by technology as well as youthful energies, is well realized in this story that also offers strong character development and a palpable sense of place. At 18, Brady is so straitlaced that even her mother worries about her. During a family vacation, the teen meets wealthy and idealistic Sally Cooper. Back in Minneapolis, she returns to her part-time job at a church-based, social-service center and becomes aware of its director's radicalism with regard to the war in Vietnam. Sally tracks Brady down, and the two become acquainted with other college-aged students whose ideas both challenge and invigorate them. As autumn lengthens, Brady must cope with her changing relationships, the confirmed death of her brother in Vietnam, and Sally's disappearance underground in the wake of a campus bombing. Qualey presents a glorious cast of characters, each of whom adds texture and offers contrasting perspective to the protagonist: her widowed mother, her younger brothers, her boyfriend who is a Vietnam veteran, the politically astute Cooper family, and a shadowy FBI agent. Many details of 1969 and the ensuing year are sharply authentic, including the rapt public attention earned by the first Moon walk, but some seem odd and misplaced, such as the dissonance between Brady's ex-nun mother and her church. Readers probably won't care about such faltering details, however, and will feel rewarded by Brady's personal awakening to both friendship and social justice.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.