Don’t Call Me a Hurricane

Bloomsbury. Jul. 2022. 400p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781547609161.
Gr 8 Up–Ever since the hurricane that rampaged Long Beach Island, Eliza fears the ocean she once loved. As “water babies” she and her friends found freedom on the Jersey shore, a sanctuary washed away five years ago by a massive storm. Now panic attacks and climate anxiety have driven the 17-year-old into therapy. She blames overdevelopment and greedy newcomers for the loss of habitat and changes to the island that are transforming it from a safe haven for locals into a tourist destination, without regard for threatened species or an endangered way of life. Eliza’s passion for climate justice is challenged by her feelings for the new surfer in town, Milo, but she navigates this conflict by showing him the island she loves and what she’ll do to protect it. Metaphor, alliteration, consonance, and repetition are used in free-form verse that flows between present and past as Eliza flashes back to the disaster, cataloging her losses and the dangers of the sea. In one poem, staccato meter sounds like the rhythm of industry and multiple meanings of “work” show the myriad ways a family functions. Another verse suggests the hustle and bustle of a busy kitchen and the leisurely enjoyment of home and family. Diversity in skin tone, ethnicity, gender identity, and body type are represented. Back matter includes author’s note, lists of environmental organizations, and other resources. Appropriate for middle schoolers; some underage drinking has weighty consequences.
VERDICT A welcome addition where novels-in-verse and the works of Elizabeth Acevedo, Nikki Grimes, and Kwame Alexander are popular.

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