Hurricane Child
Hurricane Child

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Annotation: Born on Water Island in the Virgin Islands during a hurricane (which is considered bad luck), twelve-year-old Caroline falls in love with another girl. Together, they set out in another hurricane to find Caroline's missing mother.
Catalog Number: #160800
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Pages: 214 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-338-12930-9 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-1279-6
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-338-12930-4 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-1279-8
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017032545
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Publishers Weekly
Twelve-year-old Caroline Murphy was born during a hurricane, which is considered a curse in her home of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, and she-s convinced that she-s the recipient of bad luck. Caroline-s mother left her alone with her father more than a year ago, sending occasional postcards that slowly dwindled to nothing; Caroline is bullied at school for her darker skin; and she begins to see a spirit dressed in black and wonders whether it means help or harm. When Kalinda arrives from Barbados, she strikes Caroline as a true individual, someone who can help her on her quest to find her mother, and things begin to look up. Then Caroline-s admiration of Kalinda becomes romantic love, which is not well received in her community, and she must face her feelings on all fronts. Callender-s debut novel contains absorbing descriptions of the island (-The paint gets big bubbles whenever it rains so that I can pick and pick and pick at them until they burst-) and is a folkloric tale about overcoming old narratives and creating new ones. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 46 Twelve-year-old Caroline and her father live on Water Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Caroline, known as a "Hurricane Child," since she was born during a hurricane, is plagued with bad luck. She sees a spiritthe woman in blackthat no one else can see. She is bullied daily at school by both children and her teachers who make cruel remarks about her dark skin tone. Her feelings of loneliness are compounded by the fact that her mother left and never returned. When a new student from Barbados named Kalinda joins her class, Caroline is drawn to Kalinda's confidence and disinterest in befriending the bullies. The two girls soon become close friends. Caroline realizes her feelings for Kalinda are more than platonic and when she expresses them to Kalinda, they are unfortunately met with resistance. Nevertheless, Kalinda agrees to help Caroline find her mother in the midst of a terrible storm. By the end, the protagonist is able to feel more at peace with herself, her family, and her complex relationship with Kalinda. The novel moves at a substantial pace and contains intermittent flashbacks. Told solely from Caroline's perspective, readers get an in-depth understanding of her experiences and feelings. Lush descriptions bring the Caribbean environment to vivid life. VERDICT An excellent and nuanced coming-of-age tale with a dash of magical realism for readers who enjoy character-driven novels, especially those with middle grade LGBTQ+ characterizations. Jess Gafkowitz, Brooklyn Public Library
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Born during a storm, Caroline Murphy, a 12-year-old black girl, is convinced that she has been cursed with bad luck. The old ladies around her way say this is the fate of any child born during a hurricane. Recent events in her life seem to confirm this. Feeling unwanted by everyone, especially since the abrupt departure of her mom, Caroline leads a difficult life. She is bullied by those at her school in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, including her teacher, for her skin, which is darker than theirs. She is also followed around by a spirit—the woman in black—that she is sure only she can see. The arrival of a new student from Barbados changes Caroline's life significantly. Also bullied, the exuberantly dreadlocked Kalinda becomes Caroline's first and only friend, and soon Caroline's feelings blossom into something more than platonic. This spells problems for Caroline, since feelings like these are considered sinful in Catholic school. Caroline now must deal with growing up without a mother and her feelings for Kalinda, all while trying to figure out why the woman in black will not leave her alone. Her journey to the answers to her most burning questions finds her discovering much about herself and those around her. Writing in Caroline's present-tense voice, Callender draws readers in and makes them identify with Caroline's angst and sorrow and joy and pain.Embedding her appealing protagonist in a fully realized Caribbean setting, Callender has readers rooting for Caroline the whole way. (Fiction. 8-12)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* One year and three months have passed since Caroline's mother left her behind on Water Island, adjacent to Saint Thomas. Did she desert her because she doesn't love her, or is it possible that the strange spirit Caroline keeps seeing, the woman in black, is involved in her disappearance? Caroline finds a true friend in Kalinda, a rare new girl who arrives on the island from Barbados, though for Caroline, their connection runs deeper than mere friendship. But it's not only that Kalinda can see the spirits, too 's everything about Kalinda, and soon Caroline harbors an all-consuming crush . . . or could it be love? Caroline and Kalinda's quest leads to stunning revelations that shatter Caroline's conception of her mother. Set against the richly evoked backdrop of the Caribbean, Callender's novel captures the exquisite agony and pain that accompany rejection and abandonment. Caroline's search for answers provides a steady through line for the story, but it's the deeper questioning and reflection that set this book apart. Whether Caroline is contemplating the way religion is invoked to address same-sex attraction or the possibility of multiple realities existing alongside one another, the inner workings of her mind pay homage to the complexity of being 12. Callender's debut enriches the growing body of LGBTQ fiction for upper-elementary- and middle-school students. Visceral, pensive, and memorable.
Word Count: 42,377
Reading Level: 5.3
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.3 / points: 6.0 / quiz: 195696 / grade: Middle Grades
My ma's voice is rough and low. When she speaks to strangers on the telephone, they call her "sir." I guess it must be surprising to some people, the way her voice sounds, because she's so beautiful--just about the prettiest woman you've ever seen--but I think it suits her just fine. I love the way her rough voice vibrates through the air like a beat on a drum. She sings around the house. Under her breath, since people say her voice is so ugly all the time.
Why you wanna fly, Blackbird?
That's the song that's stuck in my head now.
You ain't never gonna fly.
***
Kalinda walks into the room, head as high as ever, taking her time smiling and greeting everyone in the room. She leaves me for last, but I know it's only because she has the most to say to me. She takes someone else's seat beside me and takes my hand and tells me that I would never believe what has happened.

Excerpted from Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Caroline Murphy is a Hurricane Child.

Being born during a hurricane is unlucky, and twelve-year-old Caroline has had her share of bad luck lately. She's hated and bullied by everyone in her small school on St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, a spirit only she can see won't stop following her, and -- worst of all -- Caroline's mother left home one day and never came back.

But when a new student named Kalinda arrives, Caroline's luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, becomes Caroline's first and only friend -- and the person for whom Caroline has begun to develop a crush.

Now, Caroline must find the strength to confront her feelings for Kalinda, brave the spirit stalking her through the islands, and face the reason her mother abandoned her. Together, Caroline and Kalinda must set out in a hurricane to find Caroline's missing mother -- before Caroline loses her forever.


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