By Kheryn Callender
Scholastic Press, 2018
Ages 8-12, Grades 3-7
ISBN 10: 1338129309
Additional Format: e-book, audiobook
Twelve-year-old Caroline, who lives with her father on Water Island, off Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Island, suffers the life destined to a girl burdened by an unlucky omen of being born in a hurricane – unlucky enough to be bullied and detested by everyone at school, unlucky enough to be stalked by the spirit of a woman in black, and unlucky enough to have been abandoned by her mother.
How can a girl escape such a fate? Maybe, through friendship and love.
When a new student arrives at school, Caroline – like everyone else – is drawn to Kalinda’s charm, smile, and honesty. Kalinda makes up her own mind about Caroline, who has been cruelly ostracized by her peers. Caroline and Kalinda forge a fast and deep friendship, which lifts the pall that has engulfed Caroline for so long. Caroline begins to feel happy and hopeful in ways that she has not in quite a while. The inseparable pair find a safe and trusting soul friendship within each other, one that drives Caroline to fulfill her purpose: find her mother, confront the woman in black, and make known her true and romantic feelings for Kalinda.
I hadn’t planned to read Hurricane Child all at once, but I did! I love everything about the book: the vivid Caribbean setting, how the elements of religious faith and magical realism meld and mix, the grit and quiet courage that Caroline shows in her external actions and interior world. Most of all, I love Caroline, a character who longs for positive connection, real connection, and learns to trust that her own inner spirit can navigate both the blessings and the curses of being born in a hurricane. -GA