🦋🦋🦋🦋 (four stars as rated in a butterfly pendant on a little gold chain)
Tilla’s relationship with her father is complicated. He spends every summer on his home island of Jamaica, leaving her, her mother and her sister, Mia, behind in Canada for long stretches of time. When she and Mia are sent to spend the summer with their dad, Tilla hopes the months together will help them all to repair the damage done by his absence. But when nasty rumors begin circulating about her on the island, and with a hurricane barreling toward them all, Tilla wonders if it isn’t already too late to salvage her relationship with her dad or even to enjoy what’s left of her summer in Jamaica.
“I can’t help it. I succumb to the spell of Jamaica as the fantasy of who my father is radiates in front of me. My heart instantly wraps around him, and I forget every time he has broken it.”Asha Bromfield, Hurricane Summer
Hurricane Summer was such an experience. I am overwhelmed by how much nuance and imagery this single story holds. This book is proof that we can sometimes learn just as much from fiction as nonfiction. The mentions of colorism and colonialism in particular were so poignantly and elegantly done that I could have spent a whole novel on the ins and outs of that alone. That plot though… I could feel it developing from page one – like a storm building on the horizon.
I am a sucker for the trope of “protagonist is wronged but the wrongdoers get their comeuppance in the end.” It is just so darn satisfying when someone stops letting people push them around and establishes their worth. I loved witnessing TIlla and Mia’s growth and the development of their character arcs as a whole. The respective scenes in which they both finally said their piece really were everything I wanted them to be. Also, I love when an author writes realistically about young adult emotions. For all her faults, for all her bad decision making, Tilla is just a teenager trying to sort through the trauma of her father’s abandonment in a country where no one (besides Andre) has her back. I was proud of the way she grew in the end and that she didn’t hold “the island” itself accountable for what she’d gone through. She was wise enough to understand the how and why of everything that happened over the summer and I think that’s a level of maturity she wouldn’t have demonstrated at the start of the book.
✒️ Debut Author
🇯🇲 Jamaican-Canadian Rep
🎂 Coming of Age
📖 YA Fiction
✨ Rep in this book: Jamaican and Jamaican-Canadian cast of characters, own voices
✨ Content warnings for this book: drowning, death of a parent, death racism, racial slurs, domestic abuse, violence, vomiting, sexual assault, abortion, infidelity, sexual content
I was sent a free review copy of this novel by Wednesday Books in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author: Asha Bromfield
Asha Bromfield is an actress, singer, and writer of Afro-Jamaican descent. She is known for her role as Melody Jones, drummer of Josie and the Pussycats in CW’s Riverdale. She also stars as Zadie Wells in Netflix’s hit show, Locke and Key. Asha is a proud ambassador for the Dove Self-Esteem Project, and she currently lives in Toronto where she is pursuing a degree in Communications. In her spare time, she loves studying astrology, wearing crystals, burning sage, baking vegan desserts, and taking walks to the park with her dogs Luka and Kyra. Hurricane Summer is her debut novel. (Copied from the author’s personal page on the Macmillan Publishers website).
Personal note: girl on flatlays
I put a lot of time and energy into my flatlays – sometimes hours – especially when it’s for an ARC. I feel like trusting a stranger to review your book before it’s been published is such a demonstration of vulnerability and I like being able to share a bit of what I felt while I was reading it. They’re not always very involved. They don’t need to be. That’s not what it’s about.
For Hurricane Summer I knew I wanted something fresh that illustrated the lush, colorful foliage of Jamaica. As I read on in the story, absorbing more and more of Tilla’s character and experiences, I kept coming back to fruit. I thought of how it is the sweetest right before it goes bad. And how fruit, like people, contains multitudes and sometimes the smallest fruits can pack the biggest punch.
I went to my local market and stocked up on all manner of citrus fruits, then scurried home to take my photos. Admittedly, I was more excited for the juice I planned on making from everything afterwards than I was for the outcome of my pictures (because it had been that kind of a morning and I really wanted my juice!) Ultimately satisfied with how the shots turned out I went on with the juicing only to realize that I’d forgotten to put a memory card in my camera. U G H. I was seriously the most embarrasingly rookie mistake.
So, back to the market it was for me to get another bag of beautiful fruit. As luck would have it, the rain clouds literally parted shortly thereafter so that the lighting for round two was actually way better than my first attempt. I love the way this photo turned out and I love the way the fruit looks next to that absolutely gorgeous cover art.