Author Kheryn Callender’s debut middle grade novel, Hurricane Child, is a colorful and quiet tale of a young girl working to make sense of her shattered world. Callender’s writing is beautiful and melodic, perfectly capturing the rhythym of the Caribbean island on which it is set. Hurricane Child is a fast read with a pace so quick that it feels almost rushed. Our main character, Caroline, is a girl the reader can’t help but feel for. However, the issues Caroline must face are varied and overly plentiful which, while entirely plausible and realistic, serves more to distract from those challenges instead of support. This leads to the story as a whole feeling under-developed and much lighter than it should. Despite its difficulties, Hurricane Child is an enjoyable read and a good jumping off point for discussion of the topics whose surfaces are just scratched.
This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scholastic Press (A Scholastic Imprint)
Profanity/Language: 5 mild obscenities.
Violence/Gore: Two instances of girl nearly drowning; reference to boat nearly hitting another boat; reference to slaves being drown; reference to girl being stung by jelly fish; several instances of adults being physically rough or slapping girl; reference to a casualties of a hurricane; children throw rocks and dirt at girl; girl implies her mother would smack her for use of crude language; girl needs stitches; girl receives minor scratches and cuts; references to a fire causing a death; man slaps girl; girl imagines her own funeral; girl believes ghosts will do her physical harm; girl recalls watching a child die; reference to a disease nearly killing man, leaving him deaf; reference to mischievous ghost; girl wishes house would collapse on her; woman trips over girl; girl assaulted by group of girls; girl throws rock at another girl; girl contemplates letting herself die; girl worries about being beaten; man trips girl; girl tackles man, breaking his nose; girl cuts leg on wire; woman admits to trying to commit suicide; hurricane causes severe damage; woman tells girl of relative’s passing.
Sex/Nudity: Several instances of girls or women holding hands, in romantic fashion; girls fall asleep together, non-sexual but with homosexual under current.
Mature Subject Matter:
Parental abandonment, homosexuality, supernatural, extreme bullying, racism, death, death of a family member, mental illness, suicide.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
References to alcohol use by adults.