Between Two Skies

Joanne O’Sullivan. Candlewick, $16.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9034-2
O’Sullivan’s first novel, an elegantly written coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of Hurricane Katrina, opens in the village of Bayou Perdu on the Gulf of Mexico on the eve of Evangeline Riley’s 16th birthday. The third Evangeline in her family, she harbors a deep love for her rundown village and its surrounding waters. When Katrina approaches, Evangeline and her parents, older sister, and Cajun grandmother evacuate, ending up in Atlanta, where her Aunt Cel sets them up with an apartment and enrolls the sisters in school. The setting is a far cry from Bayou Perdu, where Evangeline’s mother ran a diner and her father was a shrimper; inevitable family tensions arise, but Evangeline finds friendship, romance, and a nurturing school counselor. While the story is somewhat predictable, O’Sullivan creates suspense on several fronts and gives Evangeline a lyrical and endearing voice; as first love blossoms, “A shiver runs through me, the way an egret’s feathers ripple slightly in the wind as it’s about to take flight.” Ages 12–up. Agent: Claire Anderson-Wheeler, Regal Hoffmann & Associates. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/20/2017
Release date: 04/25/2017
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