Nate Chance's life was fine. He has a best friend that did almost everything with him. His father taught him everything he knows (which was quite a lot), but after a freak hailstorm killed off the hay crop that would take the family out of debt, everything changed. Nate's mother became a walking vegetable and Nate's best friend doesn't even act like Nate ever existed. Only sister Junie believes that everything will be better. Nate somehow sees a ray of light in his klutzy science partner, Naomi. If they could win 1st Place, they could see their father in a mental hospital on the way to the state finals. Of course, this would never have happened if his father wouldn't have shot himself. But what if this family falls apart before then? Only time will tell.
The Cloud Chamber was one of the saddest books I've ever read! If you read this book because it sounds like a book full of hopes and dreams-- don't. It is sad in a very layered way. You get sad when the father shoots himself and even sadder when Nate's mother stops caring about life. There's a lot more layers that that. The descriptions and imagery in this book were amazing. I had an internal picture in my mind word for word through the entire book. You find yourself relating to all of the characters through your emotional journey. Towards the middle of the book, I hoped and prayed that the character's lives would turn back to normal. Overall I don't really count this as a book, but a life in itself - it was THAT extraordinary.