A British Girl’s Guide to Hurricanes and Heartbreak

S. & S./Atheneum. Oct. 2023. 320p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781665915335.
Gr 8 Up–Flora Maxwell has always had big emotions; some might even say they resemble a hurricane. After her mother’s death, Flora is feeling many things—grief, uncertainty, and guilt are just a few of them. When things come to a head, and Flora admits to a poor decision, she can’t handle her family’s disappointment and decides to get out of town. Flora ends up in Miami, where she takes on the role of wedding assistant for Pilar (sister to Lila, of A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow) in exchange for some space from her family. Flora’s passion for photography leads her into the world of fellow photographer and influencer Baz, but despite this distraction, she finds that it isn’t quite so easy to escape the emotions, responsibilities, and decisions she ran from, especially when longtime friend and possible romantic interest Gordon shows up in Florida. Flora’s voice and personality are distinctive, and Namey’s consistently lush, evocative writing brings the Miami setting to life. Flora’s grief and shame are palpable, but her growth and ownership of her emotions make for a satisfying resolution. Although there are brief appearances made by characters from A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow, this story stands fully on its own.
VERDICT Readers who appreciate stories dealing with the complexities of grief, such as We Are Okay by Nina LaCour, or the south Florida setting and Cuban influences of Don’t Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno, will enjoy this one.

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