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Extended Audio Sample The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors: A Novel, by Michele Young-Stone Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (773 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michele Young-Stone Narrator: Coleen Marl Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Crackling with atmosphere and eccentric characters, The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors explores the magic of nature and the power of redemption in a novel as beautiful and unpredictable as lightning itself.


On a sunny day in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, eight-year-old Becca Burke was struck by lightning. No one believed her—not her philandering father or her drunk, love-sick mother—not even when her watch kept losing time and a spooky halo of light appeared overhead in photographs. Becca was struck again when she was sixteen. She survived, but over time she would learn that outsmarting lightning was the least of her concerns.


In rural Arkansas, Buckley R. Pitank’s world seemed plagued by disaster. Ashamed but protective of his obese mother, fearful of his scathing grandmother, and always running from bullies (including his pseudo-evangelical stepfather), he needed a miracle to set him free. At thirteen years old, Buckley witnessed a lightning strike that would change everything.

Now an art student in New York City, Becca Burke is a gifted but tortured painter who strives to recapture the intensity of her lightning strike memories on canvas. On the night of her first gallery opening, a stranger appears and is captivated by her art. Who is this odd young man with whom she shares a mysterious connection? When Buckley and Becca finally meet, neither is prepared for the charge of emotions—or for the perilous event that will bring them even closer to one another and to the families they’ve been running from for as long as they can remember.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The sense of melancholy, tempered by the resilience and heart of the characters, makes this ripe for Oprah or fans of Elizabeth Berg or Anne Tyler.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • "[A] powerful, beautiful novel.”

    Booklist (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Marjanne | 2/14/2014

    " A somewhat unusual story, with fairly easy to relate to characters. I thought it was interesting how the author wove in different story lines, but kept the story moving. I liked that the author rapped up the ending for several of the minor characters, but left things pretty open for the main ones. I would probably read something by this author again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jennifer | 2/9/2014

    " What a completely unique story. 3 stars for this one because I thought the story was original and characters were interesting. However, for me, it wasn't a page-turner. I did not become emotionally involved with the story and had trouble following the chronological structure of the book. Overall, I liked it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Margaret | 1/30/2014

    " This looked a lot more interesting than I found it to be. It was still interesting, and the characters developed well, I just didn't feel that it added anything to my life, or my understanding of the world. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Wendie | 1/22/2014

    " I liked the alternating chapters following Becca's & Buckley's lives, though it was a little hard to figure out who all the characters were at the beginning (both of their parents, friends, grandparents, etc). It was a complex tale, always evolving. "

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About the Author
Author Michele Young-Stone

Michele Young-Stone is the author of the novels Above Us Only Sky and The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, which the Boston Globe called “an exceptionally rich and sure-handed debut.” She lives in the Outer Banks of North Carolina with her husband and son.