Title: Hurricane Summer
Author: Asha Bromfield
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication date: May 4th, 2021
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.
TW: death, sexual assault, domestic violence, fat shaming
Hurricane Summer is raw and real in a way that you don’t always see in YA Contemporary novels. Set in Jamaica, Tilla is trying to bond with her wayward father and experience her homeland for the first time. But when she arrives, Jamaica is nothing like she expected it to be, and she gets caught up in dangerous love, dark secrets, and a destructive hurricane.
Tilla’s experience in Jamaica is so heartbreaking with how she is treated by family and friends, but it goes to show the inherent judgment that is held for ‘foreigners’ in many different places. Tilla learns that the American version of ‘poor’ is leaps and bounds above the Jamaican version of well off, and that the cultural hierarchy of men over women is deafening and threatening. Many topics explored in this book are difficult to read and could be triggering, so please read with care.
I appreciate Tilla’s journey through this book so much. For just spanning a summer, Tilla really grows and learns so much of what it means to be Jamaican, a woman, and part of a family. I wished for a better ending for Tilla, but this ending felt very real, just like life and there are no magical, perfect endings in real life. It was hard to read Tilla being treated the way she was, but it’s one of those instances where the story isn’t happy – but still deserves to be told.
For a debut novel, Asha Bromfield knocked it out of the part. Read with caution for triggers, but definitely read.
Happy reading, folks!