'Hurricane Summer' by Asha Bromfield is the story of a girl named Tilla coming of age during a tumultuous visit with her extended family in Jamaica.
Along with her sister.. Mia, Tilla lives in Canada with their mother, while every six months their father returns home to the island. The result of all those fatherly disappearances, is a pretty big disconnect between them.
Though it's supposed to be a safe, happy place for the girls.. the visit is not what's expected. While Tilla's life takes a dark turn, the impending summer storm turns out to be a hurricane to be reckoned with.. but the swell of personal drama she's dealing with might be even more destructive.
This book is Bromfield's debut as an author, but some may know her from her acting roles in Locke and Key, Riverdale, and Josie and the Pussycats. Like her lead character, she lives in Canada and used to spend her summers in Jamaica.. and it's easy to see her love of the island in her writing.
Honestly, I think I expected a little light-hearted familial drama. I blame the beautiful cover that seems to be filled with.. an unabashed longing.. and there is some of that present, just not entirely in the way I thought there would be.
They say that fathers are especially important to daughters. They say that in an ideal situation, the love between the two.. gives daughters confidence and high self-esteem.. and without that, they have a tendency to undersell themselves. Personally, in my experience.. I find this more applicable to relationships than life paths and it's really apparent in Tilla's story.
She seems to spend the majority of her energy trying to please those around her. Don't get me wrong, it's always more pleasant when those around you like you.. but she really fights hard to be liked. There is not a lot of time for love and understanding amongst those she finds herself staying with. Just a ton of judgement, bitterness, and jealousy.. manifesting in some of the nastiest ways.
I really felt for Tilla throughout her journey. She's a good person, still carrying a bit of optimism even when it's difficult to maintain, but those around her seem determined to crush it into dust. Moments of astonishing beauty and tenderness make it even worse when they're ripped away by the harsh realities of her situation.
Frankly, I wasn't expecting to be so affected by this story emotionally.. but it really shook me. Though I might make little tweaks here and there to the way Tilla sometimes almost rewrites reality based on what others have said, I get what the author was trying to do.. and ultimately, it moved me all the same. What a heart-wrenching read.. well done.