Saturday, August 12, 2017

Between Two Skies by Joanne O'Sullivan

Evangeline loves her life in a small town on the edge of New Orleans.  She has two good friends and loves to escape to her own private fishing/thinking spot out on the Bayou.  Other kids at school dream of getting out of Bayou Perdu after graduation but Evangeline just wants to follow in her father's footsteps and fish for a living.  When people start talking about Hurricane Katrina, her family decides to evacuate even though they are skeptical about how bad it will be in the end.  When the storm clears they learn that Bayou Perdu has been leveled and they are forced to start life over in a new, large, landlocked city.  Every member of the family has to start a new life and find a new role from who they were before.  Evangeline's adjustment is slightly easier when she runs into Tru, a boy she met just once before the hurricane but who is someone she would like to know better.

I loved the depiction of Evangeline's life in Bayou Perdu at the beginning of the book.  It's hard for me to imagine wanting to live in a small town in the south since my experience is much more big town with fewer bugs and biting things, but O'Sullivan paints a clear picture of how much the culture of her town makes up who Evangeline is.  I could feel it and it's a palpable feeling of loss when she learns that there is nothing left and that families are asked to stay wherever they are and begin their lives there.  Other Hurricane Katrina books I've read have always been from the perspective of someone who staying in Louisiana so I liked seeing the effects on one of the "lucky" people who got out before the devastation. 

But then the author lost me as the book took a solid turn into average teen romance.  There are still some references to what has been lost as Evangeline tries to find her friend who stayed behind and as her sister works to figure out who she is now, but mostly the story becomes about her feelings for Tru.  I would've much preferred to continue the main focus on the path of rebuilding a life rather than worrying about whether a boyfriend was just stringing her along the entire time.

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