Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-01-18
- Reviewer: Staff
Having a younger brother with Hunter syndrome is hard on Mira Banul and her mother, Mickey, who works multiple jobs to pay for Jasper Lee’s treatments and necessities for the cottage they inherited from Mira’s aunt on the barrier island of Haven. Though 17-year-old Mira loves her family, she wishes life were simpler for them—a wish she regrets when a hurricane pummels the island while her mother and brother are on the mainland. Using her forward thinking and bravery, Mira survives the storm and joins the trash-strewn beach with its collection of islanders reeling after half the town is washed away. Days from rescue, Mira and friend Deni search for survivors while the rest of the town gathers resources. Though the novel feels uneven in places, with a prolonged beginning and abrupt plot developments toward the end involving Mira discovering heretofore unknown family members, Kephart (One Stolen Thing) establishes relatable characters and a poetic style that artfully blend the island days before and after the storm. Ages 12–up. Agent: Amy Rennert, Amy Rennert Literary Agency. (Apr.)
In the wake of the storm
Mira Banul has lived all her life on the six-mile long, half-mile wide island called Haven, and she’s seen everything. Every kind of storm, every kind of family tragedy. And she and her friends have weathered it all. But when a superstorm devastates Haven, leaving her mom and brother stranded on the mainland, her best friend missing and every home destroyed, Mira has to dig deep inside herself to find the strength to move forward.
This Is the Story of You, the latest from National Book Award finalist Beth Kephart, is a beautiful rendering of a terrifying event. If the novel’s pacing is a little awkward at times—slowing in the middle and rushing through climactic twists—Kephart’s liquid prose drives the story, fueling the reader’s own emotional turmoil and rendering Mira and her friends brave and loyal despite their fear. Kephart’s worldbuilding is meticulous and vivid, with details that make Haven feel like a place out of time.
This smart, poignant novel is an absolute pleasure to read.