Even if the Sky Falls

304p. ebook available. HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Bks. May 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062411808.
Gr 10 Up—A fun and light summer read that is rife with Shakespearean references. Shipped off by her parents to New Orleans to help rebuild homes, Julia becomes fed up with her Christian youth group and the weight of problems she left back home. In a moment of inspiration, she decides to run away and join a midsummer Mardi Gras parade. Her decision to live in the moment leads her to an attractive and mysterious boy, whom she nicknames Miles. The two are immediately smitten, and slowly throughout the day they unload their burdens on each other, making a deeper connection. Their romance peaks as a hurricane descends on the city. Can their love survive even when nature itself is tearing them apart? In her debut novel, Garcia constructs a love story that captures the mysterious and beautiful spirit of New Orleans. The plot itself unravels like a hurricane, building and surging along with the storm. The story plateaus and tensions relax during the eye of the storm, but as quickly as the storm returns, so does the building action, which rages on until the final page. While underage drinking, discussion of sex, and a mild sex scene may make this book inappropriate for younger or more sensitive readers, it could be incorporated into a more mature teen book club, as it encourages discussions of post-traumatic stress, Shakespeare, and natural disasters.
VERDICT Give to fans of Just One Day by Gayle Forman, Tempestuous by Kim Askew, or When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle.

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