Tasha's Reviews > Hurricane Song

Hurricane Song by Paul Volponi
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Dec 11, 08

bookshelves: teen
Read in December, 2008

Miles has been living with his father for a few months in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hits. He and his father, a jazz musician who often pays more attention to his music than his son, and his uncle try to drive out of New Orleans before the storm but when their car breaks down they are forced to head to the Superdome. They spend the length of the storm there, in stifling heat, among crowds of people, and with broken toilet facilities and little food and water. As the situation deteriorates and gangs of thugs appear in the Superdome, Miles and his family must decide whether to just take care of themselves or to risk themselves to help strangers.

I saw this on several best books of the year lists and had to try it. My synopsis above barely scratches the surface of this novel. It is taut with the tensions between a teen son and his father even before Katrina arrives. Take that tension and place it under even more pressure and you have this book which magnificently captures the racial divide during the crisis, the dire situation people found themselves surviving in, and yet also the hope, the community and the strength of people. Volponi also weaves music through the story as well as choices. The voices of his characters are real, individual and ring raw and true.

Ideal reading for teen boys, some people may be turned off by the strong (but very accurate) language in the book. Appropriate for ages 14-17.

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