I really enjoyed this one. I've never read a book set during or after Hurricane Katrina, and it was really interesting to read about one family's experience.
Evangeline is a great character to take us through the experience too. She's kind of a tomboy in that she loves fishing and hanging out in her dad's boat on the bayou, but she's still interested in boys and has girlfriends instead of hanging out with the guys. Evangeline doesn't dream of leaving the small town she lives in and is completely content without seeing the world.
Katrina changes everything. Suddenly the family are refugees, relying on the kindness of relatives for their survival. Their small town is wiped out, and it's unclear how long it will be before the authorities even manage to get trailers into the area so people can return to start rebuilding.
At her new school in Atlanta, Evangeline crosses paths with fellow refugee, Tru, a guy she once rescued when his boat ran aground in the Bayou. Tru is a musician with blues running through his blood. Evangeline loves the blues too, and soon the pair is inseparable. Perhaps Atlanta isn't as bad as Evangeline first thought…
This was a fascinating story full of rich, interesting characters. I enjoyed my time in their company very much and would recommend this one to anyone who enjoys character driven stories.
But don't just listen to me. Here's the blurb:
Hurricane Katrina sets a teenage girl adrift. But a new life — and the promise of love — emerges in this rich, highly readable debut.
Bayou Perdu, a tiny fishing town way, way down in Louisiana, is home to sixteen-year-old Evangeline Riley. She has her best friends, Kendra and Danielle; her wise, beloved Mamere; and back-to-back titles in the under-sixteen fishing rodeo. But, dearest to her heart, she has the peace that only comes when she takes her skiff out to where there is nothing but sky and air and water and wings. It’s a small life, but it is Evangeline’s. And then the storm comes, and everything changes. Amid the chaos and pain and destruction comes Tru — a fellow refugee, a budding bluesman, a balm for Evangeline’s aching heart. Told in a strong, steady voice, with a keen sense of place and a vivid cast of characters, here is a novel that asks compelling questions about class and politics, exile and belonging, and the pain of being cast out of your home. But above all, this remarkable debut tells a gently woven love story, difficult to put down, impossible to forget.