Hurricane Summer

St. Martin’s/Wednesday. May 2021. 384p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250622235.
Gr 8 Up–Tilla is a Jamaican Canadian teen traveling to Jamaica with her younger sister to visit their father, who she hasn’t seen for a year. The carefree vacation never materializes, as her father’s business obligations and a hurricane headed toward Jamaica throw her plans off course. Tilla is thrown into an unfamiliar world where her father has kinglike status in the family compound. Her aunts and uncles all look to him for advice, money, and other resources. Her favorite cousin Andre isn’t allowed to go to school and is made fun of because of his dark brown skin. Tilla soon finds that being her father’s daughter makes her a target for her Aunt Herma’s sharp tongue, her cousin Diana and Diana’s friend Zory’s pranks, and the wanted and unwanted attention of two young men. When the hurricane hits, more than land is destroyed. Tilla must now decide which relationships need to be rescued from the rubble, and which she’ll leave behind. This is an excellent examination of the ways wealth, gender, and color can shape and at times create mental and emotional fractures. The men and boys in the story are steeped in a mix of toxic masculinity and male vulnerability. The relationships among girls and women paint a compelling picture of how femininity can be weaponized.
VERDICT A great title for public and high school libraries looking for books that offer a nuanced look at patriarchy, wealth, and gender dynamics.

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