Monday, November 27, 2017

O’Sullivan, Joanne. Between Two Skies.

O’Sullivan, Joanne. Between Two Skies. Candlewick Press     2017  267   $16.99      Hardback  ISBN 978-0-7636-9034-2  ms/hs  Realistic fiction  E-BN

Evangeline Riley loves Bayou Perdu with its lush flowers, scents, music and endless water vistas as well as secluded waterways. Her father’s shrimp fishing business is hardscrabble, but with her mother’s cooking skills at the family-owned diner, they get by.  Listening to weather reports and noticing the lack of birds and crickets, they decide to leave just before Hurricane Katrina hits. They eventually settle with a relative in Atlanta, a far cry from the open spaces and rural Louisiana Evangeline loves. Being beholden to others is not her father’s way, especially since he can no longer fish. Both he and Evangeline know their life is on the water, not in an asphalt-covered city. Her mother finds a job and likes her new life. An older sister no longer is queen of anything and finds it difficult to fit in to the new community. A love story develops for Evangeline with a most unlikely boy. The ups and downs for all family members as they mourn their total loss of their possessions and a changed lifestyle is heart-wrenchingly portrayed. Authentic characters, vivid imagery, and a well-crafted plot make this a book for historical fiction collections, as well as for readers who like to delve deeply into family relationships.   It is superb for the emotional impact of natural disasters on individuals and families.

Summary: Superb imagery combined with heartfelt emotions. Life in the Bayou for the Riley family is hardscrabble but satisfying to Evangeline. After Hurricane Katrina, her family starts to fray after being displaced to Atlanta. This is an excellent story of love, loss and hope. Gr 7+  

Hurriane Katrina-Fiction                                          --Lois McNicol

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