Review: When Lightning Strikes by Meg Cabot

Bought from Borders
Published January 9, 2007
Book 1 in 1-800-Where-Are-You 
Amazon - Goodreads

Jess Mastriani has never been what you'd call a typical Midwestern teenager—her extracurricular activities, instead of cheerleading or 4-H, include fist-fights with the football team and month-long stints in detention. A part of Jess would like to be the prom queen her mother has always envisioned her being, but another part is secretly counting the days until she's saved up enough money to buy her own Harley.
Then something happens that guarantees Jess will be one of the least until her new found talent ends up getting her dead.

I bought the bind ups of the 1-800-Where-Are-You series a while back but never got around to starting them until this past week. Boy, let me tell you I totally regret not starting them early! Once again Meg Cabot amazes me with her great understanding of the teenage mind. If I remember correctly, I picked up Safe House (book three) years ago, but was really young when I read it. Not only did I read it out of order, but I never finished it. I'm so glad I picked up book one because this series will definitely be added to my favorites' list.

So I've only read the first book in this series so far but I can already tell that Jess is my hero! I love that she is a total bad ass and isn't afraid to stick up for her friends despite her small size. She's witty, determined and protective of the ones she loves which are definite qualities I look up to. Jess also has 'street smarts' which I think a lot of characters in books lack. I feel like they are all super geniuses or just not smart in the slightest, so it was nice to see a pleasant change in what I've been reading.

The supporting characters are just totally golden! Jess's best friend, Ruth, is really unique in the way that she contributes to the story line and how she always has her friend's best interest in mind. The leading male character, Rob, in When Lightning Strikes is a total studmuffin! Leather jacket, motorcycle and just dripping with confidence *drool*. Another guy in the book is Sean, who is definitely one of a kind! I don't want to give too much away, but I loved his snarky yet somehow caring personality and the relationship he had with Jess is really sweet.

My favorite part of this book was definitely the idea of a teenage girl getting struck by lightening which leaves her with crazy powers. I mean how cool is it that Jess gets these crazy dreams that tell her where kidnapped children are being hidden?! Another kick butt part was that it took place in the Midwest, which is where I'm from. It's always so cool when you can relate to what the characters are seeing or experiencing!

I was so worried that I would find myself continually comparing this series to The Mediator which is also by Meg Cabot. It's one of my favorite reads so I was afraid that this book wouldn't live up to my high 'Suz and Jesse' standard, as usual I was wrong though!

At first, I wasn't that big a fan of the ending. I thought that it came almost too quickly and that not enough plot was given for the story. After I thought about it for a little bit though, this book offers a great introduction to the characters and setting for a new series. So if there wasn't all those explanations I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much in the end. Maybe not the best ending, but necessary in order to get a great start to the series.

Characters: 5/5
Creativity: 5/5
Voice: 5/5
Plot: 4/5
Impact: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

No matter how much the paranormal section in the young adult genre grows, Meg Cabot always brings a fresh and adventurous story to the table. I've read a lot of young adult books, but When Lightening Strikes is such an original story line that I felt like I was being introduced to an awesome new genre. This book is filled with intense action scenes, first love and learning to accept yourself as who you are, even if that self is a little on the strange side!


  1. I'm so glad you liked this book! The series is one of my favourite of all times! ^^

  2. I still have not read a single Meg Cabot book.... where should I begin? it seems like there are so many haha many enjoy her books, i feel I'm missing out lol

  3. you should definitly read books by Meg cabot, personally she is my favorite author.