Title: Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: C+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
In this sweeping debut, Asha Bromfield takes readers to the heart of Jamaica, and into the soul of a girl coming to terms with her family, and herself, set against the backdrop of a hurricane.
Tilla has spent her entire life trying to make her father love her. But every six months, he leaves their family and returns to his true home: the island of Jamaica.
When Tilla’s mother tells her she’ll be spending the summer on the island, Tilla dreads the idea of seeing him again, but longs to discover what life in Jamaica has always held for him.
In an unexpected turn of events, Tilla is forced to face the storm that unravels in her own life as she learns about the dark secrets that lie beyond the veil of paradise—all in the midst of an impending hurricane.
Hurricane Summer is a powerful coming of age story that deals with colorism, classism, young love, the father-daughter dynamic—and what it means to discover your own voice in the center of complete destruction.
Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield is a complex family-centric young adult novel.
Eighteen-year-old Tilla is excited and nervous about spending two months in Jamaica with her dad. She and her nine-year-old sister Mia live full-time in Canada with their Jamaican-born mother. Their father splits his time between Canada and Jamaica but recently, he has not returned to visit them. Tilla’s expectations about her dad are low because of his history of breaking promises. She is also old enough to remember the constant arguments between her parents.
As soon as their plane lands, Tilla’s hope for a different version of her father are dashed when he takes her and Mia to the country. He then leaves them with their relatives and returns to the city. Mia immediately makes a connection with her cousins while Tilla is confused by the resentment and abuse she experiences at the hands of family members. With a hurricane bearing down on the island, Tilla weathers her own storm as discovers shocking secrets and endures a heartbreaking assault.
Tilla is uncomfortable for much of her time in the country. Her aunt makes no effort to hide her antipathy towards her. Tilla is also confused by the family’s adulation of her father. She is also stunned to witness colorism and racism throughout her visit. Tilla is delighted to be reunited with her cousins but she is shaken to realize the depths of their hostility. After experiencing a horrific betrayal, Tilla wants to return home and put the harrowing ordeal behind her.
Hurricane Summer is a well-written young adult novel. The characters are interesting but they are a little underdeveloped. The Jamaican countryside springs vibrantly to life and it is very easy to visualize the various places Tilla visits. The storyline is engaging but a bit slow paced. Asha Bromfield deftly handles a number of sensitive topics. Due to the subject matter, I recommend this young adult novel to older teenagers.