cover image Hurricane Season

Hurricane Season

Nicole Melleby. Algonquin, $16.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-61620-906-3

In coastal New Jersey, 11-year-old Fig and her father have been on their own since her mother abandoned them following Fig’s birth. Fig’s father, a once-successful pianist and composer with undiagnosed bipolar disorder, has good days and bad; when he interrupts the girl’s class with a desperate plea to see her, her teacher grows concerned and calls child services. Afraid of being taken from her father and intensely private about his struggles, Fig must enlist the help of their new neighbor Mark when her dad wanders off in the middle of a hurricane—not for the first time. Hoping to better understand her father, STEM-inclined Fig starts a project about Vincent van Gogh and becomes drawn to similarities between her family and his. Mark’s steadfast presence and growing relationship with her dad first infuriates Fig, then allows her to relinquish her fierce protection of her father; as hurricane season advances, she becomes less anxious and more comfortable in her life. Melleby’s debut offers a tender, earnest portrait of a daughter searching for constancy while negotiating her father’s sickness and the social challenges of tween girlhood, including her first crush on a girl. Ages 9–12.[em] Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (May) [/em]