Cover Image: Hurricane Summer

Hurricane Summer

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Member Reviews

Hurricane Summer - Asha Bromfield

This was such a beautiful coming of age story set in Jamaica. This story contains a lot of trigger warnings including sexual assault, verbal abuse, and domestic abuse.

This story follows Tilla and her sister Mia as they go to Jamaica to visit their dad for the summer. Tilla has a complicated relationship with her dad and is looking forward to spending some time with him, but he leaves them in the country with family and says he needs to be away for work.

This is a really difficult book to read as Tilla is treated poorly from her family and is being shamed for her sexuality. She feels like she doesn’t belong at all even though she is Jamaican. She also gets to discover the beauty of Jamaica and the author shares this so well with the readers.

Something very interesting about this book is a lot of the dialogue is written in Patois, the Jamaican dialect! There’s a word bank included, but I felt the best way for me to experience this was to listen to the audiobook while reading, which helped me understand the Patois a lot better. The author is also the narrator of the audiobook and she did a great job!

I definitely thought this was such a beautiful story about Tilla discovering herself and her home country.

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Didn't capture my attention and engagement. Interested in trying it again though and hopefully it will take.

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This book was heavy and hard to get through. I really wanted to enjoy it and feel all the emotions, but I found it so difficult to pick it back up every time I put it down. This has taken me so long to read.
I don't think it is actually a bad or poorly executed book, but it wasn't for me. The story wasn't what I was looking for and the tone didn't appeal to me either.
I am curious what this author writes in the future, maybe I'll check it out. But this one wasn't for me

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This book as a whirlwind of emotions. It brought me right back to my own childhood and feeling shame with my budding sexuality, although totally different circumstances I think most women can relate. This was such a beautiful and heart-wrenching novel. Love, loss, and the changes that come with puberty. I look forward to reading what Bromfield comes out with next.

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The positive qualities of this book are completely drowned out by the repeated normalized abuse that the main character has to deal with from her family and the way that the book repeatedly says that because it's family you have to love them and owe them your love. ABSOLUTELY NOT. This is not something we should be telling teenagers.

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Oh my, this book will give you all the feels. I read this book when it first came out and it has been stuck in my head ever since and I can’t wait to read it again.

Till and her little sister Mia are going to Jamaica to see their father who they haven’t seen in over a year. He has a habit of leaving their mother and them in Canada and returning to Jamaica whenever he feels like it, not really caring how they feel about his absence. Tilla is determined to make the most of the trip, mainly for her younger sister who is still infatuated with their father, even when he leaves them. While there Tilla is forced to face a storm that can upend her life in ways she doesn’t expect.

I was hooked from the very beginning of this book and immediately was drawn to the character of Tilla. She puts up with a lot and isn’t treated very nicely which was so heartbreaking to read. Rarely do I read a contemporary book and feel any kind of connection or feelings but this one really got to me, tears were constantly welling up in my eyes which was a big surprise for me, I normally don’t have that kind of a reaction to a story.

The writing style was absolutely amazing, the characters were written beautifully, the atmosphere was perfect. The only complaint I have is the ending felt really open-ended to me, there wasn’t really a good conclusion. That did not knock a star down for me though because the book was so lovely it honestly made up for that.

*Thanks so much to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for the complimentary copy for my honest review!*

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Hurricane Summer is an emotional roller coaster from start to finish. Author Asha Bromfield has penned an intense coming-of-age story featuring a young woman desperate to find her place in her father's world and to find herself. Through vivid imagery and analogies, the author showcases the beauty of a place known to travelers as paradise vs. a poverty stricken world of dark secrets and impoverished people. Through characters so fully fleshed out that you can feel the sweat drip off their skin along with waves of desperation radiating from their eyes, readers get up close and personal with the storms threatening their lives. The undertone of danger and darkness kept me turning pages while silently praying Tilla and others would escape unharmed. Through it all, I was amazed by Tilla's strength and resilience and ability to stand back up after being knocked down time and again. Incidences of verbal abuse are disturbing and often worse than physical blows and assaults. The growing sense of despair lends an ominous tone throughout as the story engulfed me and carried me at breakneck speed toward the coming storm.

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"Mom says you get two birthdays. The first one is the day you are born. The second is the day you leave home and give birth to yourself."

Tilla is less than excited to spend the summer in Jamaica with her younger sister and father. Her father spends most of his time in Jamaica and while Tilla wants to see her father more, she's not overly excited about leaving behind her life in Canada. When Tilla and her sister arrive in Jamaica they are immediately whisked off to the country to stay with her father's family. Her family wraps her younger sister in love and adoration but can't seem to accept Tilla for who she is as a teenager. She is constantly scrutinized and yelled at and held to impossible standards. As Tilla begins to meet other teenagers on the island, she finds an immediate attraction to her cousin's betrothed, which sets off a chain of events. In the background, Jamaica is bracing for one of the worst hurricanes they've had in years.

There is a lot packed into this book. Tilla is faced with verbal and physical abuse from several family members, sexual assault, and other hard truths (full list of triggers listed below). In no way is Tilla ever allowed to feel what she needs to feel to process these different events. I cannot imagine the trauma and additional ramifications Tilla is going to face as she begins to process the events of this summer when she gets back to Canada. It seems like a missed opportunity to show some of the hard truths about life but not give Tilla a chance to process anything. I wanted more for Tilla: I wanted someone to speak up for her or someone to support her. Instead, person after person turn on Tilla and it was quite heartbreaking to see what happens to Tilla as the summer wears on.

This isn't a happy book, by any means. Sure, there are moments of happiness, but they are few and far between. This is a hard book and one that I wish had been punctuated with some instances of hope.

**Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

TW: physical abuse (on-page), sexual assault (on-page), rape (on-page), incest, death, drowning (off-page), grief, bullying, cheating, colorism, gaslighting, sexism, slut shaming, racism

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I enjoyed this book! It was a very emotional read and I loved that the story tackled some difficult topics. It did take me just a bit to really get into the story but once I did, I was hooked. I felt for Tilla as she went on this journey and am very glad that I decided to pick up this book.

Tilla and her younger sister Mia go to spend the summer with their father in Jamaica. But soon after their arrival, their father leaves them with his family in the country while he goes off to the city for business. Tilla is an outsider and everyone makes sure that she knows it. Many of her family members treat her horribly but she does make a few bonds that are very important to her. When a hurricane hits the island, things may get worse than she ever imagines. This was a coming-of-age story and at times Tilla seemed very naive but I do think that she grows a lot by the end of the story. My heart went out to Tilla as she tried to make sense of life in Jamaica. The book deals with racism, privilege, abuse, and sexual shaming. I hated the way that some of Tilla’s female relatives treated her by constantly knocking her down instead of being supportive.

I listened to the audiobook which is narrated by the author and I thought that she did a great job with the narration. I especially enjoyed the accents that she used for many of the characters. I am not always a fan of author narrated audiobooks but in this case, I think it worked well.

I would recommend this book to others. Tilla’s journey was very emotional with quite a few highs and lows but it comes together to make a very worthwhile story. I would not hesitate to read more of this author’s work in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from St Martin’s Press via NetGalley and borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library.

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This one was hard one to read . It got me so mad to see how bad tilla was being treated by her family. It is a book about overcoming obstacles and a perfect example of what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

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A powerful and unique debut that handles difficult topics with considerable care. Looking forward to whatever this author does next.

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I am disappointed with this book. I was expecting one thing and received another. It had potential but it was not well written.

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What a beautiful and emotional read! I highly recommend the audiobook narrated by the author, Asha Bromfield. Her introduction to the book really sets the tone.

"This is my heart on pages, the devastation and very real dangers of becoming a woman"

It gave me goose bumps that didn’t go away until I finished the book!

You would enjoy this book if you like coming of age stories and realist fiction with social commentary about immigration, womanhood, feminism, ancestry, family relationships (especially father-daughter) stories like The Poet X, Dominicana, Like Water for Chocolate, The Color Purple, The Sun and Her Flowers, and The Princess Saves Herself in This One.

This is a book that everyone should read to understand the girlhood and womanhood experiences. As an OwnVoice story of hardships and abuse this book’s authenticity is just heart-wrenching. If you ever experience difficult family relationships, especially with your parents or you are a woman, especially a POC, you will likely connect with this story as much as I did.

And, this book is such a delight to read! The writing is awesome, the pace impeccable and the sensory imagery outstanding. You could swear you are right there in Jamaica, bathing in the beautiful sunsets, smelling the sea and savoring the refreshing coconut water, pineapple juice and juicy mangoes.

This is the perfect contemporary read to celebrate International Women’s Day and U.S. Women’s History Month.

I can’t recommend this book enough!

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Thank you for the advanced copy of this book! I will be posting my review on social media, to include Instagram, Amazon, Goodreads, and Instagram!

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A raw and gritty coming of age story. Tilla has a lot to learn about Jamaica once she’s dropped there and her father leaves. She deals with a lot of trials and tribulations and while learning to cope with being an outsider.

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This is a painful book, nothing good really happens.. It's a tough read and not easy but important story.

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‘You’re never too old to explore where you come from, Tilla. Remember that.’

Hi friends, and happy Sunday!

I hope you all have been doing really well these past few weeks (considering I kind of accidentally disappeared for a month). I’m so excited to be participating in my first ever Blog Tour, and even more excited to share with you Hurricane Summer by Asha Bromfield!

Before we get into it, I want to give a huge thank you to Wednesday Books for providing me with an ARC and for letting me join this blog tour!

trigger warnings: sexual assault; physical, emotional, and verbal emotional abuse; rape; racism; classism; death.

Synopsis: 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.

Right from the beginning of Hurricane Summer, it’s clearly going to be a story about strength and resilience. Even before diving into Tilla’s Jamaican summer adventures, the book starts with an absolutely gorgeous note from Asha herself. She provides some more background information about where Tilla’s story came from and how it grew, and what she experienced while writing it, along with her hopes of what readers will gain from it. Like I said, from the get go, it’s obvious that Hurricane Summer is going to tug at your heartstrings; Asha Bromfield noticeably put her heart and soul into this book. And, I think that’s one of the elements that helps make the book stand out.

When we first meet Tilla, she’s standing in a crowded airport, anticipating having to jump on a plane with her little sister Mia, heading towards her estranged father while leaving her mother behind. Now, Tilla has had a rocky relationship with her dad. As his daughter, she can’t help but adore and admire him. But, as a human being, she can’t help but notice his flaws and shortcomings. As she gets older, she started to realize that her dad wasn’t who she looked up to as a young girl, but he’s a man who had deserted her family again and again. Suffice it to say, she isn’t exactly looking forward to spending a summer in Jamaica with him and his side of the family.

"There is beauty in destruction."

I think that one of the best things about this book is Asha’s writing style and her ability to capture just about everything under the sun. Because we’re following an almost-18-year-old, there is bound to be a couple of emotional rollercoaster rides, and Tilla’s emotions were written so well. Even from just that first scene of Tilla in the airport, it’s easy to catch on to how she’s feeling about leaving Canada to visit a country she hasn’t been to since she was about 6; she’s not exactly excited about it, and that’s putting it lightly. Similarly, Tilla’s feelings towards her father and her emotions in that regard were really well done. It just felt like Asha perfectly captured that strange world where you love your dad as his daughter but despise him as a human. And something that is so great about Tilla’s emotions is that they never felt out of reach for her. She always came across as a normal 17-year-old, experiencing and feeling normal 17-year-old things; there weren’t any moments where it felt fake or arbitrary. Her emotions also weren’t clean; she may have come to terms with something, accepting it with disdain, but she would still feel hurt by it too. It was never black or white with Tilla, and I think that in and of itself is a huge factor of being a teenager in general.

The way that the Jamaican culture was included within Hurricane Summer is absolutely next level. From climbing orange trees to people selling produce in the streets to the differences between living in the city and living in the country, Tilla’s time in Jamaica was so easy to see. There were paragraphs drowning in color and peoples’ passion for their way of life, and then a few paragraphs later, there would be sadness and despair. And, not to mention, everyone Tilla meets in Jamaica speaks in the Patois dialect, which adds a whole new layer to the story. Like Tilla, at the beginning, the dialect may be a little difficult to interpret. But, thanks to spending more time with the characters and referring to the dictionary included at the very beginning, you’re able to catch on really quickly. Asha’s writing style is so immersive, it’s hard to imagine you’re not actually there.

"Sometimes little girls must become their own heroes."

Hurricane Summer opens up the door for so many different conversations.

Because Tilla is from Canada, which is seen as place of privilege to her Jamaican family, she’s automatically tagged as “rich.” But, when she’s in Canada, her mom sometimes struggles to pay the bills. In Jamaica, her clothes are made from fancy fabrics and she owns more shoes than the typical Jamaican family, but in Canada, the amount of clothing she has is seen as ‘normal.’ Even just this small facet of Tilla’s life brings up the conversation of privilege and classism across different countries and different groups of people. And, as Tilla spends more time in Jamaica, she becomes more aware of these issues.

Similarly, Asha paints a really beautiful picture of not really fully existing anywhere. In Canada, Tilla isn’t Canadian enough and in Jamaica, she isn’t Jamaican enough. In Canada, as a young girl, she wanted to get a perm to straighten her curly locks. In Jamaica, her afro is accepted as the norm. She’s bullied back at home for being different, but she doesn’t feel like she fits in in Jamaica either, even though she’s from there. Asha Bromfield opens up this really conversation about not quite feeling like you belong in any singular, physical place, and this bleeds into other characters as well. Andre has lived in the country in Jamaica his whole life, helping to provide and care for his family, but even they think his skin is too dark. He’s constantly mocked if he spends too much time out in the sun because he’ll get darker, and this mockery and name-calling is normal for them. To Tilla, it’s an absolute abomination. There are so many interesting dichotomies set up within the pages of this book, and it opens up countless doors.

Then, what is probably obvious a huge theme running through the story, is exploring the dynamics in a tension-filled relationship between a father and his daughter. Essentially, the story explore what happens when we hit the realization that maybe our parents aren’t the best people; they maybe aren’t even the people we thought they were.

Hurricane Summer is a book about self-discovery. It’s about sexuality and faith and finding yourself. And that self-discovery isn’t linear in any sense of the word. There is constant back and forth, which is absolutely realistic to what happens in the real world. Finding out who you are and becoming comfortable with that isn’t an overnight change for anyone, and it certainly isn’t for Tilla.

Again, this story is a strong one. It feels very much like a traditional YA coming-of-age story, as you watch Tilla grow and change overtime. Tilla was such an enticing main character, that I only wanted to know more about her. Don’t get me wrong: I enjoyed learning about her and her story, but I only wish there was more. Maybe then, I could have connected with her—and the other characters—just a bit more.

You'll like this book if...
- you enjoy traditional coming-of-age stories
- you’re in the market for a raw, emotional book
- you love visualizing sights, sounds, and smells while reading
Overall: 3 orange trees out of 5 – ★★★☆☆.

A Q&A with Asha Bromfield!

Me: Hi there, Asha! Thank you so much for taking the time to answer some of my questions today; I really appreciate it, and I am so excited to chat with you! I wanted to start off with learning more about your inspiration behind Hurricane Summer. In the opening of the book, you include a beautiful note about what you found while writing and what you hope readers gain from reading. Can you tell us a little more about that inspiration and what drove you to tell Tilla’s story?

Asha Bromfield: Absolutely! I was really driven by my desire to see more three-dimensional stories about young women of color. Being an actress, I had grown tired of a lot of the limited material I was auditioning for. I wanted to tell a story that expanded beyond race and focused on the humanity of a young black woman. Our lives are so rich and filled with deep nuance, and I was just really passionate about creating art that reflected that. From there, I knew I wanted to explore the father/daughter dynamic, and the implications that that relationship can have on a young woman’s sense of self. Too often in this society, we shame young women for their choices – especially sexually. I wanted to write a story that took an in-depth look at a young girl’s journey and autonomy, and how the lack of the father foundation could shape a lot of her choices. It was important to me to show the way that society treats young, sexualized women. Oftentimes we judge and shame them, and I wanted to eradicate that idea. Young women deserve a safe space to step into themselves, their sexuality and their pleasure. I believe this book is a celebration of that, because it takes a look at the ways society gets it wrong.

Me: Speaking of Tilla, character and character development is HUGE in this story. When you started writing, did you know where your characters would end up? Or, do they tend to reveal themselves as you spend more and more time with them during your writing process?

AB: They revealed themselves throughout the writing process. When I sat down to write this story, I had no idea how it would end or where my characters would take me. Even after selling the novel to Wednesday books, I wasn’t entirely sure how I would close out Tilla’s journey. But the characters definitely spoke through me, and concluded themselves naturally. They all feel so human to me, and it was one of my favorite parts of writing the book. It was important to me that everything in this book feel deeply real – I didn’t want a perfect happy ending, because in real life, most of us don’t get that. Life is complicated, messy and sometimes incomplete – and I felt that should be reflected in YA.

Me: I always find myself so fascinated by different writing processes! Did you have any writing rituals/techniques while writing this story to help you get into the zone or get into Tilla’s head and take on her voice?

AB: I called on God every time I sat down to write. I asked the universe to use me as a vessel to speak truth and be of service with this story. I asked, constantly, what story I was being called to tell. I called on my ancestors as well. And then, I just allowed myself to be open to whatever came through. I trusted the process, even on days where I didn’t like what I wrote or I didn’t feel like writing. I just kept writing anyway, and I trusted that there was a higher purpose for this story. I trusted in God.

Me: Similar to writing processes, I’m also so interested by different authors’ publishing journeys. What did your publishing journey look like for Hurricane Summer?

AB: It was tough! I shopped my story for months and got lots of rejection. Being an actress, I’m used to that – but it was hard stepping into a new arena. I learned quickly how subjective this business is, and that rejection is just God’s redirection. And more times than not, it’s also protection. It’s so important to believe in yourself, because the same ones who tell you “No” and the same ones who come back around and tell you how proud they are. You can’t base your worth or talent on the thoughts of others. Some people just don’t have the vision you do. Believe in the call that was placed inside of your spirit. Keep going and never give up!

Me: Before we get to my last question, I wanted to quickly thank you again for taking the time to answer these! I’m loving learning so much about how Hurricane Summer came to be. But, finally, what was your favorite part about writing Tilla’s story?

AB: My favorite part about writing Tilla’s story was amplifying the message of forgiveness. I believe that when we forgive, we set ourselves free to live the lives we always deserved. It’s so much easier said than done though, as forgiveness can be such a deeply complicated process. But I loved showing readers that ultimately, all of Tilla’s power came from her – not her father or any of the people around her. When she learned that she is responsible for her happiness, it set her free from her father and allowed her to start living life on her own terms. That’s what I want for my readers. To set themselves free.

Hurricane Summer officially hits shelves on May 4, 2021!

So, what do you think? Will you be reading Hurricane Summer? Is it already on your TBR? Have you ever spent a summer abroad? Let’s chat!

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You know, the more I reflect on Hurricane Summer, the more I feel like this book wasn't very fun to read. Most of the events in the story involve our main protagonist getting abused in some way, both physically and mentally, and I wasn't for it. The ending was satisfying - and by that I mean the last page was satisfying. The main character reflecting on her "storm" of a summer and the realization she makes at the end left me feeling like the book had some meaning... but that didn't change my mind about the rest of the story being unenjoyable.

I can manage to read a book involving emotional and even physical turmoil if there's some redemption for the main character or if there's a bad ending for the abuser, but I didn't feel that I got that with Hurricane Summer.

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Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC digital copy. I have not been compensated for my opinion and this is an honest review.

Unfortunately, I was unable to finish reading this ARC digital copy before needing to switch to other books that were being archived. The book remains on my Goodreads "want to read" list, and I will update my review to reflect an updated opinion when I finish it at a later date.

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A coming of age novel that shows not everyone has the happy life they pretend to have. This book is devastating, it's passionate, it's raw, it's hurtful. It has ups and downs. When it's up, it's beauty, love, and adventure; but when it's down, it's sick, it's nasty and painful. Also, Trigger Warnings are a thing, and this book has too many to count. 99% are on-page and not hinted at, so if you are squeamish this is not the book for you.

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