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YA Review: Hurricane Child by Kheryn Callender

Title: Hurricane Child
Author: Kheryn Callender
Year Published: 2018

Genre: YA fiction (LGBTQ)
Pages: 211
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2019 Google Reading map)St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from a local school library

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): 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. 

Review: This book won the Stonewall Award for 2018 for the best LGBTQ book for youth. As I read the description I worried about the haunting spirit part since I am not good with magical realism, but it turns out it isn't really magical realism, just spirits that the little girl "sees." I am okay with that.

I wanted to love this book since it won an ALA award, but I didn't. I think it's good and it that middle grade students will like it. Caroline is a lost soul who needs a complete family (her mother left them years ago) and a friend. It made me sad that the other little girls were so cruel and that her teacher didn't do anything about it. Kalinda filled the role not only of a friend, but of someone who loved Caroline and let her know that she mattered. Really, that's all we need, isn't it?

For me, the last few pages of this book are the best; Caroline discovers something about a girl in her class that could change her life. I loved that.

Challenges for which this counts: 

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