O'Sullivan, Joanne. Between Two Skies.
4Q * 4P * S
O'Sullivan, Joanne. Between Two Skies. Candlewick, 2017. 272p. $16.99. 978-07636-9034-2.
Hurricane Katrina (2005), one of the worst natural disasters in the United States, is prominently featured in O'Sullivan's debut novel. Evangeline, a high school student, is chosen to represent her hometown of Bayou Perdu (fittingly named since the French translation means Lost Bayou) in its annual naming of the various queens, of which she happens to be the Fleet Queen. Mandy, Evangeline's sister, is aghast at Evangeline's appearance in rubber boots and shorts; Mandy always sees to it that her appearance is at its best. The community has its celebration, and word gets around that a hurricane is set to come ashore "somewhere" in the Louisiana area, which prompts some to evacuate while others decide to stay. Evangeline and her family, including her elderly grandmother, Mamere, flee to Georgia where they end up staying with family.
Hearing the point of view of a teen "refugee" is heartbreaking, especially when she is facing the possibility of losing friends and family. This story is one of many dealing with the hurricane and its devastation, but this author's emotional style of writing makes her novel stand out. O'Sullivan does a wonderful job of putting the reader alongside Evangeline and her family. From feeling squashed in the backseat of a car to smelling the fishy odor of sandwiches to the heartbreaking loss of first love, Between Two Skies is a welcome addition to library collections serving young adults.--Beth H. Green.