Member Reviews

Grab your tissue box because you're going to need it. This was a heartbreaking tale about a girl finding her voice and discovering just what she's made of. Reminiscent of the self-discovery journey in Their Eyes Were Watching God and the magic of nature in Bridge to Teribithia, Hurricane Summer paints a story worth remembering.

I normally have an issue with dialects. There's just something that trips me up. But between the helpful Patois Word Bank and our narrator not being as familiar with the Jamaican way of speaking, it wasn't impossible to understand. And by the end of this novel, I had gotten the hang of it. I am immensely grateful for this, as it made it possible for me, an individual who has barely "mastered" the art of one language, to read this novel and understand what was going on.

All in all, this was a poignant read that really emphasized the power of storms and the power that comes with growing up and discovering just who you are. It was a beautiful, at times heartbreaking, OwnVoices story by a debut author. Honestly, I'm kind of surprised that this is Asha Bromfield's first novel, and I'm interested to see what she'll write next!

It is worth mentioning that the blurb states that this novel deals with classism and colorism. It also deals with a lot more; including sexual harassment & assault, phycological trauma & abuse, and sexism.

I wish to thank NetGalley and St. Martin's Press / Wednesday Books for the eARC. I really appreciated the opportunity to read this novel!

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Thank you to Asha Bromfield, St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for this ARC.

"I am screaming out to finally hear my own voice."

This is a fantastic coming of age story, about a Canadian teenager who goes to visit her father in Jamaica for two months during hurricane season. Tilla is a great character, albeit a little naive. The dynamic between Tilla and the myriad of characters she interacts with (whether it's her favorite cousin Andre, her new crush Hessan or her terrible Aunt Herma) is very well written. This story also goes to show that no matter what you look like, you can feel like an outsider within your own family, especially if you're a "foreigna".

I did find the book a bit hard to understand in the beginning due to the Patois language. Once I got further into the book, I was able to discern the language a lot easier.

I loved this story, and can't wait to read more from the very talented Asha Bromfield.

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First off, let me say that this will be a read that needs content warnings. I was aware of the themes going into the novel, but I was not braced for the full extent of its content. In addition to the described sexism, classism, and colorism, there is also on-page sexual harassment and assault.

As for the overall story itself, Hurricane Summer reminded me of a modern Summer Reading book. The problems were heavy and the story of transformation through destruction felt very literary. I can see this being a contemporary choice for discussion in classrooms, opportunities to discuss several different topics through a lens that isn't Old Dead White Men. This Jamaican OwnVoices story was powerful in nature, and I will admit I was unaware that this was a celebrity author debut.

There were a few instances where the tone of the prose slipped from the main character's voice and into clearly the author's own commentary on a subject. I'm hopeful for some editing before final print just to clean up the lines a bit, but it certainly doesn't detract from the story. Patois is used fluently throughout the book, and while there is a guide in the beginning, if you stick with it you do adjust!

Tilla, the main character, is broken and hurting and very real. The drastic changes she goes through via her surroundings and circumstances and experiences can and do happen. She doesn't always navigate the waters well, but that's what it means to be a teenager under duress: not every decision is a smart one. But you take what you can learn from every choice or mistake and keep moving towards the best version of yourself.

Again, I hope that the marketing of the book is more blatant in its content warnings, as some scenes can be triggering for others. Nonetheless, this story is powerful and I hope it finds its rightful place in discussions and classrooms!

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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. This was a great book and I highly recommend reading it.

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I received this book in exchange of a honest review from NetGalley.

Some triggers to be conscious of: verbal, emotional, psychological, sexual, racial and physical abuse

Tilla is traveling to Jamaica with her younger sister Mia to spend the summer with their father, who has been in and out of their lives for years. They arrive in the country where the girls are introduced to family members they have never met, and some they haven't seen since they were small. It's a culture shock for the girls, and hard to overcome the many preconceived notions people on the island have of them. Tilla struggles with rollercoaster emotions as she begins to understand that her father isn't person she thought him to be. I don’t want to give any spoilers so I’ll stop with I loved everything about this YA book.

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Tilla is traveling to Jamaica with her younger sister Mia to spend the summer with their father, who has been in and out of their lives for years. They arrive in the country where the girls are introduced to family members they have never met, and some they haven't seen since they were small. It's a culture shock for the girls, and hard to overcome the many preconceived notions people on the island have of them. Tilla struggles with rollercoaster emotions as she begins to understand that her father isn't person she thought him to be.

I loved everything about this YA book. Tilla is your typical egocentric teenager who starts to understand how her actions can affect those around her, and how she has to be very careful around people whose motives may not be entirely clear. The way this book is written felt like poetry, with the words beautifully flowing on to the pages. I felt like I was in Jamaica, standing under the waterfall, and walking through the jungle. Bromfield is a talented author and this book drew me right in, I didn't want to put it down and found myself reading under the covers late into the night. At first I thought the Jamaican dialect would be difficult to follow, but you quickly get used to it and the dictionary wasn't needed. I recommend this book to anyone who likes YA~

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I'm honored to have been given the opportunity to read this book early; as someone unfamiliar with the Jamaican culture, I was thrilled for the opportunity to learn.

In Hurricane Summer, we get to know Tilla - an eighteen-year-old young woman trying to navigate her life whist in a precarious family situation. She and her nine-year-old sister Mia spend their summer in Jamaica with their father; while their parents had immigrated to Canada and the girls always lived there, their father keeps going back to Jamaica for long periods of time. We learn a lot of Tilla's inner struggles, her racial, national, family and personal identity,

The writing is so vibrant and alive. I particularly loved the setting; as someone who's never been to Jamaica, I felt like I was there.

While I don't have much in common with Tilla, I grew very connected to her because like no character ever before, she truly impersonated me in my relationship with my father. I fully relate to her desperate attempts to be loved by him and to the effects of his avoidant attachment to his own daughter. I felt like she could understand me like no one else, and that was simply a beautiful feeling - to find a character like this in a novel.

Some triggers to be conscious of: verbal, emotional, psychological, sexual, racial and physical abuse.

*Thank you to the Publisher for a free advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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While I like the idea of this book and feel it has potential, there were just too many errors in timeline for me to overlook. I hope that it will see a good edit before the date of release.

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Wow. Just wow. Can I give a standing ovation from my living room?! This book is amazing. From the characters to the descriptive writing to the dialogue taking place in primarily patois... it’s all phenomenal.

This book deserves all the stars, all the awards, and all the love from all of the people.

Now to the story. We follow a summer in Jamaica with Tilla, the main character, and her adventure (but this seems to light hearted a word) in her families homeland. She arrives thinking she will be spending the summer with her dad, but ends up learning some hard life lessons with her extended family instead.

“When they ask me how I weathered the storm. I will tell them I did not.”

Going through the trials and tribulations of first love, friendship, culture, colorism, the patriarchy, and belonging; Tilla experiences it all in this summer. She experiences it until she finds exactly what she’s needed all along. Herself. In the end Tilla becomes the warrior is always knew she was and fights for the love and life she deserves.

Tilla’s journey is heart wrenching and fierce. You can not miss the story of a girl who finally claims the woman she deserves to be.

I would like to send my deepest Thanks and appreciation to #netgalley and #stmartinspress, specifically, Wednesday Books for an early release copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Please make sure you find this book in your local store in May 2021

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Wow! A surprisingly well written story about a Canadian girl visiting her Jamaican father, facing the differences between both countries, including classism, racism (between colored people!) and sexism. This story is written by an actress from Riverdale. I never watched that series so I didn’t know Asha Bromfield. NetGalley provided me direct access to this story and I was curious if the actress could write too. Well, the answer is wholeheartedly: Yes! The more I read, the more intrigued I became by this sometimes dark story.

The writing is very accessible and descriptive, from the moment I started reading, Tilla became a real person and through her eyes I could see life on Jamaica so vividly. I liked the way Asha Bromfield played with words and made sentences sound almost lyrical:
I want to cry tears of joy and confess the pain in my heart like a child in need of a Band-Aid. I want to tell him I hate him. I want to tell him I love him more than I could ever hate him.

The story is full of dialogue in Patois and the first pages of the book contain a dictionary of Patois. Not just two or three pages but a lot! And I though OMG I have an eARC and I can’t keep scrolling back time and again I don’t understand the Patois. But I shouldn’t have worried because after I read a few pages my common knowledge of English was more than enough to understand most sentences (and I’m not even a native speaker).

The story is about Tilla and her Jamaican family. Her normal world and the Jamaican world are far apart from each other. She’s seen as rich because she has a backpack and more than one pair of shoes (even ten pair!).
There will be no fair trial. They have decided that just by being from foreign, I am spoiled and spoon-fed. I am bad, and I need to be punished. The princess will be put in her place.

She’s astonished by the harshness she encounters, the way people treat her and each other. The sexism and racism she never thought she’d find on the island.
Being lighter-skinned offers you celebration and praise. It offers you homecoming. And under this measure, there wil be no celebration for dark boys.

And there’s the relationship with her father and so much more. It’s difficult to describe everything Tilla is facing that summer without revealing too much. That also applies to the other characters in the story. So I only highlight one: Andre. I loved him and rooted for him, such a sweet and cheerful guy despite everything that happens.

Like I said before this is a very well written debut and I got goosebumps several times because of what happened and how people including Tilla were treated. I’d love to read more from Asha Bromfield.

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Hurricane Summer is a beautiful and compelling story of eighteen-year-old Tilla's summer with her father's family in the countryside of Jamaica. Tilla's parents migrated from Jamaica to Canada, however, their father has never fully assimilated and spends so much time in Jamaica that the parents' marriage seems all but over. The story begins with Tilla and her nine-year old sister, Mia bidding their mother goodbye as they board the plane for the trip, and the tension is immediately evident. Tilla is wary of spending the summer with her father and that is revealed in all the ways that teenagers express frustration and confusion.

Bromfield manages to maintain this tension throughout the tale, keeping the readers close in Tilla's head as she experiences disappointments, joys, devastation, and then an actual hurricane. Tilla has a number of firsts in that summer, including jumping off of a waterfall and her first sexual experiences, and in each case, the reader is right there with her-"Before I can object, we are flying off the rocks and through the sky. I am a bird. Soaring. Free. Whole." Bromfield immerses us in Tilla's experiences in a way that echoes Jesmyn Ward's writing.

The cast of teen characters that Tilla meets are very much alive and the village is drawn so carefully that it is impossible not to picture the homes, shops, and churches that Tilla encounters.

Tilla is embraced by some of her cousins but, despite the fact that her parents are struggling by Canadian standards, she is considered a privileged outsider. Her desire to be accepted into the community leads her to comply with situations she should refuse and ends in one disaster after another. Her adult relatives generally treat her poorly, projecting their anger at their lifelong disappointments and regrets onto her because she represents dreams they could have accomplished but did not.

TIlla's relationship with her father is the most complex relationship of the book. Time and again he disappoints and time and again she has to admit "the truth is, [she's] already forgiven him."

Many of the characters speak in Jamaican patois and the language seems authentic. It was also easy to understand, but there is a glossary for readers who may have difficulty with the language.

This book deals with very serious issues of prejudice, inherited trauma, the guilt of those who migrate, abandonment, colourism, grief, and rape (let's call it what it is). It does not shy away from the harsh realities of life in some rural areas of the Caribbean. I can forsee some readers taking issue with this portrayal of Jamaican life, especially since we see little growth in the characters Tilla leaves behind at the end of her summer. I hope readers will also see that the book highlights much of the joy and fellowship in the community, and the benefits of having a close relationship to the land.
While it is hard to find something to criticize about Hurricane Summer, there are points where the author's voice seeps in, especially on the subject of colourism. Tilla's response to the prejudice one of her cousins, Andre, experiences because of his dark skin seems to suggest that she has had an experience with colourism in the past. But we learn little about Tilla's life in Canada and so her reaction seems more like the author lecturing e.g.-"the way they treat Andre is a direct result of the racial bias that permeates the island. An island of black and brown bodies that are not exempt from their own internalized racism." This is one of the very few places where I felt as if the author was making a point that Tilla would not have framed in quite this way.

While your heart will break for Tilla and the implications this summer must have on the rest of her life, the strength with which she faces the trauma she experiences will leave the reader convinced that she will overcome. In her own words "How beautiful it was to be destroyed."

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Title: Hurricane Summer

Author: Asha Bromfield

Genre: YA lit/ own voices

Thank you Netgalley for this book.

The own voices world in YA lit is exploding, and I love it. Teens don’t need to be forced to read the “classics.” What a way to create disengagement. There are TONS of amazing books to use as resources for high school teachers. This book should absolutely be one of them, as well.

Tilla and her little sister, Mia, are leaving their mother behind in Canada to visit their dad in Jamaica for the summer. Dad spends part of his time in both countries, but Jamaica is home. They go to the country where there’s no hot water, plenty of kids to run around with, and adventure to be discovered. Through the book, Tilla is on a self-discovery, although that wasn’t her intention when she left home. At 18, she just wanted to spend time with her dad.

This book tackles some really important issues facing kids these days… classism, colorism, young love, loss, destruction, betrayal, and above all, finding yourself. The book is full of gorgeous Patois, which is usually hard for me to read, but the lyrical speaking was easy to follow in this one. My trick: don’t focus on the individual words, but get the gist of what’s being said. You will quickly get used to the dialect.

This book is so well-written with the hurricane being both literal and metaphorical. Tilla deals with some really hard stuff while in Jamaica, but the actual hurricane is the least of the troubles. I think teens will love this book. It will speak to their hearts and souls in so many ways.

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Slight spoilers ahead, be careful. It's going to be impossible to review this with no spoilers, so I'm just going to try and save the bigger ones for my Goodreads review, where I can actually hide them.

Content warnings for domestic violence and sexual assault on page. There is also an important character's death (off-page) near the end that comes as a shock to everyone, and I was completely unprepared for that. No, I won't ruin the book by saying who the character was, but all I'm going to say is that THEY DESERVED SO MUCH BETTER. And I still can't decide if it was necessary.

Tilla and her younger sister Mia only see their father for six months out of every year. The rest of the time, he lives in Jamaica, where he is originally from and currently works. Tilla isn't very close with her father, but she grew up hearing his nasty arguments about this situation with her mother. She wants to protect nine-year-old Mia from anything that would make her see their father in a negative light, but that can't be avoided when they leave their home in Toronto to spend the whole summer in Jamaica with him.
For a book I thought was going to be about Tilla's relationship with her father, he really doesn't appear that much. Not too long after Tilla and Mia arrive at their aunt and uncle's house in the countryside, he tells them that he is leaving for several weeks to take care of "work." Turns out that having to see her father is nowhere near the worst part of Tilla's trip: the aunt and uncle they stay with are strict Christians who are borderline abusive, and the island is gearing up for what could be a Category 5 hurricane at the end of the summer.
Still, Tilla finds community in her cousins Richie, Andre, Kenny and Diana, as well as their friends Zory, Dane and the exceptionally cute Hessan. Their area is home to some of Jamaica's most beautiful sites, and Tilla is excited to finally have close friends and a potential boyfriend (who turns out to already be promised to Diana,) but it feels impossible for Aunt Herma and Uncle Junior to show her any respect. They mock her for being "foreign" and accuse her of being spoiled, which even Diana joins in on. (I'll get into how much I hated her later.) Even worse is the way that they treat her cousin Andre because of his dark skin. Nobody seems to stand up for him except for Tilla, which is how she ends up becoming his closest friend.
Now onto Aunt Herma, who shouldn't've ever been allowed to host the girls. The whole time Tilla is out having fun with her cousins (or on a date with Hessan in one case,) Herma is lying to her father by saying that she's throwing herself at every boy she meets. She and Diana repeatedly call Tilla a slut, and even suggest that she's asking to get raped just for hanging out in any place where men are present. Somehow, Herma gets Tilla's father to believe all of it, and he won't even listen to Tilla until the end of the book.

*Spoiler warning for the rest of the review*

One night, Tilla does end up getting sexually assaulted by the neighborhood "bad boy." After hearing all of her aunt's comments, she knows she can't tell anyone, even though Diana does see her afterward and knows for sure that something's wrong. I thought Diana was going to redeem herself at this point, but it's later revealed that she still hasn't. She's so angry at Tilla for having a relationship with Hessan that she lies to him and claims that she cheated on him with this boy (Jahvan.) And it turns out that Diana was the one who set Tilla up to be assaulted in the first place. Any respect I'd gained for her was gone.
I almost cried when Tilla finally stood up to Diana and Herma. I was SO glad that they didn't try to redeem the abusive relatives like I see WAY too often in books (looking at you, The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali.) Tilla's father isn't completely redeemed either, even though he isn't abusive (but he does have a secret girlfriend and son that he lied about for years.) I did like their ending, which was happy but still realistic.
And as soon as the characters started telling stories of the devastation caused by hurricanes in Jamaica, I figured out that somebody was going to die. I didn't know if it would be a "good" character or a "bad" one, but I was mostly hoping it wouldn't be the father or Mia (it wasn't either of them.) Still, the death caught me completely off guard, especially since it happened right after I'd thought everything was resolved with barely any pages left. I won't say the character's name on here, but check my Goodreads if you really want to know. I kept hoping that it would pull a Good Girls and bring this person back, revealing that they were only missing, but it never did.
The ending isn't completely happy, but it isn't completely sad either. Tilla ends her summer on good terms with her cousins and her father, but I don't like the way she ended things with Hessan. Okay, I thought it was good for her to not completely forgive him, but to tell him to go back to Diana, who slut-shamed, abused and bullied her? Was that really necessary?He doesn't go back to her, but he doesn't outright refuse either. I was waiting for the moment when he would say no, he'd had enough of Diana, but it never happened. I wish there had been some sort of epilogue.

Still a 5 star read. Beautiful imagery of the landscapes as well.

For fans of Clap When You Land (the father-daughter dynamic is similar, even if this one is still alive.)

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I tried to download the Epub to my overdrive media app and it said that it didn't have the licenses to be able to open it or download it properly. So I won't be able to read this book. If you can fix this issue I would be happy to read it and give it a review

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The story brings to the surface the topics of how families wade through the fallout of youth and young romance, parent/child relationships, and the trauma of a natural disasters juxtaposed along side the added trauma of class and colorism.

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