Jett Jamison and the Secret Storm | Kimberly Behre Kenna


Jett Jamison and the Secret Storm by Kimberly Behre Kenna 

Out August 3 from Black Rose Writing; 156 pages 

Content Warning: Sexual assault

About the Author: “After years as an adolescent and family counselor, and then as a fifth grade teacher of ecology and language arts, Kimberly returned to school for her MA in creative writing from Wilkes University. Her middle-grade novel, “Artemis Sparke and the Sound Seekers Brigade” (Regal House/Fitzroy) was a finalist and received Honorable Mention in the 2019 Tassy Walden New Voices in Children’s Literature Competition. “Jett Jamison and the Secret Storm” (Black Rose) is the second book in her Brave Girls Collection. A third in the collection, as yet unpublished, won second place in The Institute of Children’s Literature 2022 MG Mystery Contest. Her poems and stories have been published in American Writers Review, Mused, Plumtree Tavern, and Rubbertop Review. Her full-length play, “Ana’s Hummingbird,” was given a staged reading at The Dramatists Guild in NYC. She’s a member of SCBWI and PEN America, and now devotes herself to writing full time” (Bio from Author’s Website).

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“My story is now where it belongs. Outside of myself, still a part of me, but narrated in my own voice.”

Jett Jamison tries to be the perfect planner for herself and her family. Growing up amid chaos and a lack of schedule has only made Jett want to account for every minute of the day. She relies on one hundred thirty-three to-do lists to get her by, and yet, she can’t quiet down the voices in her head. The only thing Jett wishes for is peace, and so far, her lists aren’t helping. When Jett befriends Sister Gia, a nun in the local church convent, she is introduced to the mysterious book, Resurrecting the Dragon. Nobody knows who wrote the book, and it has been disappearing from local libraries. Jett believes the book will help her stop the voices in her head, so she is determined to read the book and stop the censorship of it. 

Jett Jamison is a wonderfully crafted 6th grade character that I ended up relating to and loving. As she works with Sister G, Jett finally reads a copy of Resurrecting the Dragon and discovers that the book was meant to empower survivors of sexual assault after they read the book and share their own stories in the blank pages provided at the end. Many in the town believe that the topic of sexual assault is only for adults and should not be mentioned around children, leading them to slander and censor the book. This well-crafted parallel to modern society truly struck me, and also brought a necessary awareness to the harms of censorship. Jett experiences true growth throughout the book, not only by speaking her truth, but also in making friends, trusting others, and learning how to manage her own feelings. This book approached the topic of sexual assault delicately and inexplicitly, but that does not stop it from having a heavy impact on readers. Jett is empowered once she confides in Sister G about her own sexual assault and shares her story with her parents and younger brothers. She even creates the Brave Girls Book and Garden Club to have discussions with other survivors and friends. The more that women and girls feel they can share their own stories like Jett, the less daunting these conversations become, and, I hope, the more awareness we can bring to sexual assault. Jett Jamison is a truly remarkable character, and this is the kind of book that I, and many other girls, could have desperately used in middle school. 

PRR Editor & Writer, Mireya Borgen