This Is the Story of You

264p. ebook available. Chronicle. Apr. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781452142845.
RedReviewStarGr 7 Up—For Mira and her friends, living on a small island off the New Jersey coast means tourists all summer, a small school and close friends, and wild weather as a way of life. When the forecasters warn of a storm, no one is overly concerned and life continues, albeit with an eye on the weather. Mira, worried about her younger brother, who has a serious congenital disease and is hospitalized on the mainland, goes about the normal storm preparations while she waits to hear from her mother with an update on Jasper Lee's condition. She visits with her best friends as they wonder about the new boy who has just started attending their small school and is secretive about his past. Mira, alone when the superstorm hits, sustains several injuries, but with the help of a reclusive beach dweller, escapes her damaged house and begins the struggle to find friends and survive without her mother and brother. When returning to her home to salvage what she can, she finds a strange girl who is sleeping in her bed, has gone through all of her things, and has secrets she does not want to share. Kephart's nuanced novel is mutlilayered, poetic, and poignant. The bonds of love, friendship, family, and community in the face of adversity blend seamlessly with the emotional journey of Mira and her friends. Loosely based on Sandy and its aftermath, the book goes beyond the disaster novel genre and becomes a story of despair, hope, and triumph.
VERDICT This beautifully written book works on many levels and is rich in its characterization, emotion, language, and hint of mystery.

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