Be Ready for the Lightning

Be Ready for the Lightning From acclaimed New Face of Fiction alumna Grace O Connell a suspenseful poignant and provocative tale about violence sibling love friendship heroism all told through the lens of a young woman tra

From acclaimed New Face of Fiction alumna Grace O Connell, a suspenseful, poignant and provocative tale about violence, sibling love, friendship, heroism all told through the lens of a young woman trapped in a hijacked bus.On the surface, Veda s life in Vancouver seems to be going just fine at nearly thirty, she has a good job, lifelong friends, and a close bond with herFrom acclaimed New Face of Fiction alumna Grace O Connell, a suspenseful, poignant and provocative tale about violence, sibling love, friendship, heroism all told through the lens of a young woman trapped in a hijacked bus.On the surface, Veda s life in Vancouver seems to be going just fine at nearly thirty, she has a good job, lifelong friends, and a close bond with her brother, Conrad But Conrad s violent behavior, a problem since he was a teen, is getting and serious, and Veda s ongoing commitment to watch out for him is pushing her to a breaking point When Veda is injured as a bystander during one of Conrad s many fights, she knows it s time to leave Vancouver for a fresh start She heads to New York, staying in the Manhattan apartment of old friends Al and Marie Exploring the city, she swings between feeling hopeful and lost until one day the bus she s on is hijacked by a sweet faced gun toting man named Peter He instructs Veda and the other passengers to spray paint the bus windows black, and what ensues is a gripping and unpredictable hostage situation, the outcome of which will make Veda question everything she knows about herself and the nature of fear Told with powerful immediacy and warmth, at once unsettling and engrossing, Be Ready for the Lightning is a story of violence, its attractions and repulsions of love, loyalty and friendship and of a young woman finding an unexpected kind of bravery

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    151 Grace O'Connell
Be Ready for the Lightning

  1. I m a Toronto based writer and editor and the author of Magnified World Random House, 2012 I m represented by Martha Magor Webb at McDermid Associates and my publicist is Ruta Liormonas at McClelland Stewart.My work has appeared in publications including The Walrus, Taddle Creek, the Globe Mail, the National Post, Quill Quire and the Journey Prize Stories I ve been nominated for the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award and two National Magazine Awards for fiction Previously, I taught creative writing at George Brown College and I now teach at the University of Toronto I also write a books column for This Magazine, work as a freelance writer, ride a crummy but beloved bike named Billy and chase after cats on the sidewalk to pet them.I love to write about the ways in which people know and don t know each other, ways in which we try to be happy, the lies and memories and homes we build and destroy and re build, and the two big engines of interesting actions fear and love I like swimming in lakes, road trips where someone else drives, parking lot carnivals, walking in the woods, overly elaborate candy stores, and, of course, books.

153 Reply to “Be Ready for the Lightning”

  1. It embarrassed me to love him, when everybody else did too In the books I read, girls who like boys were vapid B characters The protagonists were always girls who hated the main boy, had bigger things on their minds, but who ended up with him anyway I wanted to be like that, to be a main character with better things to do than fall in love But what did I know Maybe love was supposed to be embarrassing.Intrigued by the title and the cover, I was absolutelyblown away by the prologue which happens [...]

  2. 3 stars I m having a bit of trouble rating Be Ready for the Lightning Compared to the previous book I read by Grace O Connell Magnified World it is much better O Connell has matured as a writer Her writing is stronger and her characters are believable Also, I liked what I saw as the main theme the challenging love between two siblings And O Connell handled the two timelines in an interesting way, slowly bringing them together by the end But, still, the reading experience fell a bit flat for me [...]

  3. A group is kidnapped by a Peter Pan figure and the author mixes the before the event and the future of what happened after the event Interesting method that leaves you wondering what happened and why and all the scenarios that one can think of.

  4. If I had to use one word to describe Be Ready for the Lightning by Grace O Connell, I would say vivid from the descriptions of the scenery to the characters, everything in this book was so intricately developed and detailed I could smell the smells and hear the sounds I felt like I knew these people, they were my friends and my confidants Throughout my reading, I felt a visceral attachment to them, which made this one feel suspenseful and explosive O Connell is a master of imagery and I was capt [...]

  5. This was quite different than what I had expected it to be, given that from its blurb I imagined this would strictly be a tense thriller that takes place on a hijacked bus Instead, it s a thoughtful reflection of a young woman s life before the bus she gets on one afternoon is hijacked by a mentally disturbed man, during the ordeal, and afterward It s definitely not a thriller, but surprisingly I actually liked it better that way.Veda is the main character, but you really get to know all of the [...]

  6. 2.5 stars The book opens with the main character Veda involved in a hostage situation on a New York City bus After the opening chapter, the story jumps back in time to Veda s childhood in Vancouver The rest of the book alternates between this childhood in which Veda s brother and their circle of friends play a predominant role, the hostage situation, and many points in between I m afraid that I didn t love this book Although the writing was good, I just didn t connect with any of the characters [...]

  7. Dreamy, shocking, uncomfortable, and luminous This is a delicious read to sink into, switching back and forth between Veda s suburban Vancouver upbringing among a close knit group of friends and a surreal bus heist in NYC There s something here for every reader tense crime drama, poignant coming of age narrative, vivid characters, a thwarted romance, and so much For fans of Maile Meloy, Emma Straub, and Meg Wolitzer.

  8. A very moving and beautiful story it has a central, gripping plot for sure, of the bus hijacking but for me, the central tension revolved around the difficulties of growing up How do we grow into our own skins, and how do we relate to our siblings and friends as they find their peace or not of being adults in a trying reality Perfectly paced and written with Grace O Connell s tight signature prose, I am hoping for a sequel.

  9. In Be Ready for the Lightnng, the storyline moves back and forth between Veda s life in Vancouver beginning in her childhood and a hostage taking on a bus in New York Grace O Connell writes very well, it just seemed as if the two plot lines didn t gel The back story took away from the hostage incident as I was anxious to return to Veda s life in Vancouver with her mercurial brother, Conrad Not quite to my tastes, but it will be enjoyed by many.Thanks to Penguin Random House Canada for an ARC in [...]

  10. This story of a woman who survived a hostage situation on a bus is fascinating It is well written and the characters memorable The question of what causes an ordinary person to erupt into violence is one no one seems able to answer Another great book by a Canadian writer Thanks to for the giveaway.

  11. Please read all of my reviews at ultraviolentlit Be Ready for the Lightning is a fascinating story about a hostage situation on a New York City bus, as experienced by a young woman named Veda, and the long lasting connection she feels for her attacker The novel is punctuated by this extreme event, but it is also a close up look at Veda s life before and after the incident, and her complicated relationship with her brother Conrad and their childhood friends Veda and Conrad grew up in Vancouver wi [...]

  12. I was interested in this title because of the fact that it was set in Vancouver Very few books are and I think it s a shame because it s such a beautiful city Unfortunately I found myself quite underwhelmed throughout the read O Connell does have a gift when it comes to imagery, but I found the story to be less than captivating It s dangerous to tell a story as a reminiscence from the main characters point of view, and in this case I think it works against the author by taking away from the susp [...]

  13. Phenomenal Be Ready For The Lightning by Grace O Connell is a wonderful book The storyline follows Veda a girl involved in a hostage situation Her character arc is fascinating and there is a perfect amount of character development for her character Grace has done a good job creating her character and the development for Veda is on point Accompanying Veda is a fantastic cast of supporting characters All of them bring unique characteristics to the story Each character is memorable and they all hel [...]

  14. Be Ready for the Lightning follows the narrator Veda s life before and after a traumatic event being trapped aboard a Manhattan bus during a violent hostage situation The story centres around the fractious relationship between Veda, her brother, Conrad, and their core group of friends as they all attempt to approach normalcy in their lives despite addictions issues, Veda s crippling anxiety, Conrad constantly picking fights with strangers, and things just generally not turning out the way they d [...]

  15. O Connell has a gift for imagery, for dialogue, for writing and this skill makes Be Ready for the Lightning a great read.Veda has always kinda floated through life, doing things because she was expected to than actually following some inner desire As a result she finds herself somewhat lost, not really knowing who she is and wondering why she lets life, and people, walk all over her But then she gets caught up in a hostage situation on a bus, and everything changes.The story switches back and f [...]

  16. Thanks so much to NetGalley for providing me with ane ARC of this book for an honest review As always, all opinions are my own.I thought this book was going to be just a thriller, but I am so glad it turned out to be so much than that.The story follows the main character, Veda, in two timelines one present day and one beginning in childhood and progressing forward until the two timelines meet In the present day, Veda is visiting some friends in New York City and while she s riding the bus one d [...]

  17. There s a lot to love about Grace O Connell s sopho effort, the first being the wonderful title I m not sure what it is exactly, but the phrase Be Ready for the Lightning seems to be a call for action and alertness as you begin reading which builds the anticipation until major events begin to take place But unlike a typical crime thriller, this is a very literary book, delving into the protagonist s inner life just as much as what s going on around her.I don t want to give anything away so my su [...]

  18. The wastemytime trend from 2016 carried over into 2017 with this book The premise sounded really interesting the main character gets trapped on a bus with a gunman, the windows are spray painted black so the police can t see in, and he holds them hostage Sounds interesting enough right Except this book did the complete opposite.You would get 3 long boring chapters of her life thus far, and then get one small taste of her being on the bus With about 100 pages left we get an entire chapter dedicat [...]

  19. Be Ready for the Lightning by Grace O Connell is a work of fiction.First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.Second, I must confess that this is not my normal genre, so although I my rating may not be high, I know the majority of people will eat this one up The three stars that I give this book is solely for the prose O Connell is a really good writer.I did, however, have a problem with the a [...]

  20. Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada and Grace O Connell for the free advance copy 3.5 StarsVeda, an audiologist from Vancouver with a complicated circle of family and friends, moves to New York where she becomes an unlikely victim and hero of hostage situation on a Manhattan bus.From the first page, I really enjoyed this book The prologue is gripping and the protagonist is engaging, interesting and her voice is well written This book had the potential to be five stars, but it meanders a bit [...]

  21. Veda, a thirty year old Korean Irish woman is on a New York bus, when Peter Juric boards the bus, shoots the driver, then takes the occupants of the bus as hostages From that point onward, the novel moves back and forth between different time periods, the past, present and future The past is Veda s life Vancouver, starting as a young girl, until she moves to New York and the relationship that she has with three close friends and her brother Conrad, who has a history of violent behaviour The pres [...]

  22. A semi recent giveaway win, I m not sure I would have picked up Be Ready for the Lightning by Grace O Connell on my own otherwise, but I was intrigued enough by the synopsis plus, it s a Canadian author to give the book a try This is the story of Veda, who finds herself on a bus in a hostage situation The story then switches to her childhood in Vancouver, to the bond she had with her brother, despite his violent tendencies, and to the situations that lead to her being on that bus in the first pl [...]

  23. The book begins with a gunman blowing out the brains of a NYC bus driver at the start of a hostage taking situation and then flashes backward in time into a retelling of the narrator s life and how she got into this predicament The story moves along at a good clip and the characters are believable and approachable Of course, the fact that she talks about growing up on certain streets in Vancouver that I know well did contribute to the ease with which I grew attached to this book, but I still wou [...]

  24. This is a wonderful book Grace O Connell has created living characters that leap off the page We follow Veda through some of her childhood events and see her friends and relations with all their good and bad traits Their actions and choices resonated through her, revealing that we never know if we said the right thing or made the right choice Reasons for actions and reactions, as well as how those truly affect others, are unknowable in others and in ourselves.We watch as she remembers and forget [...]

  25. A well written book about the complexities of sibling relationships As other reviewers have said, it begins with an intense action scene, but spends most of its time on the main character s backstory I liked how the story went back and forth between the present and the past it helped explain Veda s response to the violent scene on the bus, drawing parallels between the Peter the hostage taker and Conrad, Veda s brother.It s not an action packed page turner, but the undercurrent of suspense build [...]

  26. This was a very quick read It was intriguing to be flashing back to the bus hijack, and to before Veda s move from Vancouver to New York This novel was very compelling and definitely made you want to find out what exactly happened on the bus, and what led Veda to leave her home town There is a lot layers happening within this novel other than just the bus hijack The relationships in Veda s life aren t always the most positive, and I think that is something everyone will be able to related to in [...]

  27. I received this book in a giveaway I was hooked on this book just a few pages into it I forgot the synopsis before I started reading it, adding to my intrigue with Veda s current terror dilemma and her back story of growing up in Vancouver It seems that all the books I ve been reading lately are split time lines, which can be hard to keep straight, but are such an enjoyable puzzle to piece together I found Veda s complex and detailed life s story so interesting that if I didn t know it was ficti [...]

  28. Received a free copy for honest reviewVeda has had a troubled life She has had to deal with her increasingly hostile and violent brother She leaves her hometown and heads to New York for a new start when she and others are taken hostage on a city bus The young, troubled man who holds them hostage is named Peter Veda finds herself taken in by this troubled young man I found the characters and the story rather boring The relationships between the characters was often weird and over the top It was [...]

  29. Be ready for the lightning Well I definetly wasn t ready for this book.I couldn t put it down, It drew me in from the start I liked the way the author wrote the book, and the way it was organized Very well done with us seeing how Veda got to be where she is by delving into her past with her friends and her brother I liked how she brought the two timelines together Vedas youth in Vancouver and the bus she is on being hijacked, by a nice and polite man in New York at the end of the book Very well [...]

  30. This book was very difficult to get through The back and forth between present and past was choppy and disjointed, made so by the fact that it never becomes clear why one is relevant to the other The characters were flat and difficult to like And the so what of this story never comes forward The writing style has potentialbut the writer needs a better plot and engaging characters.

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