Hurricane Season

Hurricane Season

This debut novel—about taking risks and facing danger, about love and art, and about growing up and coming out—will make its way straight into your heart.Fig, a sixth grader, wants more than anything to see the world as her father does. The once-renowned pianist, who hasn’t composed a song in years and has unpredictable good and bad days, is something of a mystery to Fi...

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Title:Hurricane Season
Author:Nicole Melleby
Rating:

Hurricane Season Reviews

  • Gail Shepherd

    Nicole Melleby's HURRICANE SEASON is just a flat-out beautiful middle-grade debut--it's hard to know where to begin to praise it. The novel follows Fig, a soulful sixth grader, as she worries and wonders about her brilliant, beloved father, a composer and pianist who, we learn over time, is manic depressive. The novel takes place over the course of hurricane season, a fraught time for Fig and her dad; he's obsessively drawn to storms, which seem to embody the swirling vortex of his own madness.

    Nicole Melleby's HURRICANE SEASON is just a flat-out beautiful middle-grade debut--it's hard to know where to begin to praise it. The novel follows Fig, a soulful sixth grader, as she worries and wonders about her brilliant, beloved father, a composer and pianist who, we learn over time, is manic depressive. The novel takes place over the course of hurricane season, a fraught time for Fig and her dad; he's obsessively drawn to storms, which seem to embody the swirling vortex of his own madness. When his erratic behavior brings social services to their door; Fig is sure she's going to be taken from him.

    Desperate to make sense of his illness, Fig is also obsessing on the biography and paintings of Vincent van Gough for a class project, convincing herself that her dad is destined for the same violent end as the artist. Melleby handles themes of mental illness, Fig's evolving sense of her attraction to other girls, and the psychic and spiritual demands of creativity with such sensitivity and grace. Her prose is pitch-perfect. Fig is so completely and carefully drawn that you can't help but fall in love with her. I can't recommend this hopeful, heartbreaking novel highly enough. Melleby is an author to watch.

    Note: I read an advance readers copy provided by the publisher.

  • Naomi Milliner

    This is a beautiful, must-read book for MG readers - and their parents. Covering everything from Vincent Van Gogh (in the best way possible) to mental illness to sexuality, this debut novel has it all - and it is all done with grace and compassion and great care. Fig and her story will stay with you long after you turn the last page, which is as breathtaking as its cover - and that says a lot.

  • megs_bookrack

    Fig may look like any other 6th grader but due to some pretty serious issues at home, she finds herself in an almost constant state of anxiety.

    She lives alone with her father, a once renowned pianist, who is battling with undiagnosed bipolar disorder. As a consequence of this, Fig's role is often more one of parent than child.

    Regardless of daily struggles, Fig loves her father with her whole heart and she knows that he loves her too. He is trying his hardest, he really is, but without any sort of outside assis

    Fig may look like any other 6th grader but due to some pretty serious issues at home, she finds herself in an almost constant state of anxiety.

    She lives alone with her father, a once renowned pianist, who is battling with undiagnosed bipolar disorder. As a consequence of this, Fig's role is often more one of parent than child.

    Regardless of daily struggles, Fig loves her father with her whole heart and she knows that he loves her too. He is trying his hardest, he really is, but without any sort of outside assistance or treatment, they are barely getting by.

    After her father causes an embarrassing incident at school, one of Fig's teachers becomes concerned and ends up contacting Child Protective Services. With their life now overseen by a social worker, Fig feels even more pressure to project as much normalcy as she can.

    During an art class, she learns a bit about Vincent Van Gogh and his mental health issues. She can see similarities between Van Gogh's personality and her father's. This similarity propels her to find out all she can about the artist in an effort to better understand how her father's mind works.

    Through it all, Fig is also dealing with regular life things that any other 6th grader would be. Feeling out of place at school, tension with some friends and discovering her own sexuality.

    This book is so beautiful and pure. I adore Fig with my whole heart. She was such a precious little bean who is wise beyond her years. Her relationship with her best friend, Danny, was just so darling, as was her crush on Hannah, the girl who works at her local library.

    I was very impressed with the writing and feel. Melleby does a seamless job of inserting important topics into the narrative without them seeming forced. The story felt very organic.

    I was legit an emotional mess upon finishing this. It was just gorgeous. The strength of the bond between Fig and her father. His will to overcome challenges and work through his illness any way he could, it was...ugh...no words.

    My heart is full.

    I would recommend this to anyone. Even though this is a Middle Grade story, I think this can absolutely be enjoyed by readers of all ages!

  • Mandy

    Disclaimer: I received this ARC courtesy of Algonquin Young Readers. I am grateful for the opportunity to review an ARC for my readers, but this will not influence my final rating. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and based solely on the book. 

    I'mma just sit here and be drenched in the hurricane of feels please and thank you.

    Stop whatever you're doing right here and now and please add this book to your TBR. Seriously. This is one of the best middle grade b

    Disclaimer: I received this ARC courtesy of Algonquin Young Readers. I am grateful for the opportunity to review an ARC for my readers, but this will not influence my final rating. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and based solely on the book. 

    I'mma just sit here and be drenched in the hurricane of feels please and thank you.

    Stop whatever you're doing right here and now and please add this book to your TBR. Seriously. This is one of the best middle grade books that I ever read, and I just CANNOT. I'm just over here curled into a ball because this book almost made me cry - yes, REAL ACTUAL TEARS COMING FROM THIS COLD HEARTED NON-BOOK CRIER - and wogmnlwegnealrg I JUST CAN'T.

    Things to love about this book: well, basically, everything, but I'll try to form coherent sentences to explain.

    - the heart. Omigosh, this book has SO SO SO much heart. It will take all of your feels, squeeze them together, force you to embrace them, and then squish them back inside you. That doesn't even make sense, but that's how I feel. Everything in this book made me happy, sad, uplifted, energized, and more!

    - the writing. The writing was so so good. It was so easy to read, and easy to understand, and there was nothing confusing, and I like just binged this book so easy and like, if you are reading this as one long sentence that is me out of breath, it's exact like that. I will definitely be picking up whatever Melleby writes in the future.

    - Fig. Omigosh, Figgggggggggggggg. I love her so much. She has a wonderful voice. She is real and messy and loving and caring and so so so strong and brave. She has been taking care of her dad her entire life, and she so desperately wants to love and be loved. She is wise beyond her years, but she is also exactly her age. She gets jealous and petty, but that's exactly how anyone would act in her situation. Ugh, she is just so realistic and you canNOT help but root for her. Mandy = her #1 cheerleader and you gonna have to fight me if you want to take this position.

    - the mental health aspect. This book shows the highs and lows of dealing with a loved one's mental health struggles. Fig's dad has bi-polar disorder, and he has high highs and low lows. We see it all, and his struggle to become better - and Melleby does not ever wrap it in a nice little bow. She shows how messy and rewarding the journey is.

    - coming of age aspect. Not only is Fig going through all of this, she is still going through the struggles of being a kid turning into a teen and finding who she is as a person. While she deals with maybe mean girls, a new friendship, and figuring out her sexuality and her attraction to the high school girl at the library, she stands through it all with so much heart and bravery.

    - the other cast of characters. Omg, Mark and her dad were so much love. UGH. I can't. Just let me be in my feels with them. Let's just say the cast of characters were amazing and dynamic and JUST READ THIS BOOK OKAY.

    There is so much else that was amazing in this book, but seriously, just stop reading this review and go pre-order this fantastic book. It's a story for all ages, and IT IS JUST SO GOOD. Ugh, I can't anymore. I just need to go in a corner somewhere. 5 crowns and an Aurora rating because it's a true classic!

  • Joshua Levy

    I do not have the words for how much I enjoyed HURRICANE SEASON, or how important a book I think it will be to many kids. Fig and her dad are on their own. She's a sixth grader, trying to navigate that tumultuous age--while simultaneously taking care of her dad, an out-of-the-game musician whose mental health has deteriorated over time. Fig has the whole world on her shoulders, and then some. And she handles that burden with the absolutely perfect blend of grace and frazzled exhaustion.

  • •°• gabs •°•

    so. this little book means

    to me.

    despite being a middle grade novel, it deals with many serious topics

    so. this little book means

    to me.

    despite being a middle grade novel, it deals with many serious topics and it does so in an amazing way, beginning with tim's bipolar disorder, to pain and trying to be better for the people you love, to hurting and forgiving.

    i also love the way sexuality is portrayed in this novel because it is a coming out story both for fig and her father in a way, but it is not the focal point of the story. i know that lgbtq+ people are most of the time having huge issues when it comes to this, but it is liberating and hopeful to read stories that don't center around hardships and homophobia. both tim and fig are questioning and are insecure, but everyone is accepting and supportive, and it makes me happy.

    we deserve these kinds of stories, we deserve hope and seeing people accepting themselves and being accepted by others.

    it's such a well written book and i adore tim and fig's father/daughter relationship SO MUCH, the little family that they have means the world to me, they are far from perfect, but they love each other with everything they've got. this book will forever hold a special place in my heart.

    ________________________________

    i cant stop crying this was so so sO SO GOOD RTC!!

  • Emily

    An emotionally-rich story about a sixth-grade girl struggling to make sense of and care for her father, a famous musician, who has become increasingly mercurial and ill as a result of undiagnosed bipolar disorder.

    To figure him out, Fig immerses herself in biographies of Vincent Van Gogh, an artist whose temperament reminds her of her father's. If she studies art and this particular artist, she thinks, she'll understand her father better and perhaps unlock his secrets.

    While at the library, Fig

    An emotionally-rich story about a sixth-grade girl struggling to make sense of and care for her father, a famous musician, who has become increasingly mercurial and ill as a result of undiagnosed bipolar disorder.

    To figure him out, Fig immerses herself in biographies of Vincent Van Gogh, an artist whose temperament reminds her of her father's. If she studies art and this particular artist, she thinks, she'll understand her father better and perhaps unlock his secrets.

    While at the library, Fig develops a crush on the high school girl working at the circulation counter and befriends a classmate (Danny), who is also in her art class. At home, she finds herself relying on a new neighbor, both thankful and troubled by his developing relationship with her dad.

    Through all of this, Fig watches the weather and worries about the physical and emotional toll an impending hurricane might take on those she loves.

  • Jocelyn

    Fionla ("Fig") is a sixth grader with a lot on her plate. Suffering from a psychiatric disorder that leaves him unable to make music anymore, her father is barely able to function on the best of days. No longer selling out large music halls, her dad makes ends meet by giving sporadic piano lessons when he's up for it.

    After her father made a few too many embarrassing outbursts at Fig's school and around the neighborhood, Child Services is closely monitoring them. Terrified

    Fionla ("Fig") is a sixth grader with a lot on her plate. Suffering from a psychiatric disorder that leaves him unable to make music anymore, her father is barely able to function on the best of days. No longer selling out large music halls, her dad makes ends meet by giving sporadic piano lessons when he's up for it.

    After her father made a few too many embarrassing outbursts at Fig's school and around the neighborhood, Child Services is closely monitoring them. Terrified of being taken away from her father, Fig is desperate to understand his troubling mind.

    When an art project at school leads her to the artwork of Vincent Van Gogh, the artist's turbulent life and struggle with mental illness seems to be the key Fig has been looking for.

    Hurricane Season is a beautiful exploration into mental illness and presents it in a very accessible and realistic way for both young and adult readers. It also explores sexual orientation in a practical manner that is helpful for young and old alike. Neither of these topics is portrayed as taboo or something to be ashamed of. They are simply just facts of life.

    Also, if you don't know a lot about Van Gogh's life or about storm season on the eastern seaboard, you'll certainly learn a lot while reading this. It was all pretty fascinating.

    AND CAN WE TALK ABOUT THAT AMAZING COVER?!

    If you pick this one up, which I highly recommend that you do, bear in mind that this is aimed at middle school aged readers. It's a short read, but one that has no shortage of emotions. My heart constantly broke for Fig as I was reading this. As if being in sixth grade isn't hard enough with all the emotional and physical changes that occur at that age (and how horrible other sixth graders can be), she also has this constant fear of being taken away from her father looming over her life.

    We never meet her mother and all we learn about her is that she left the day Fig was born. It's always just been Fig and her dad against the world. It's devastating how much is on this poor kid's shoulders.

    It does end on a hopeful high note so don't worry about finishing this and being bereft. It also has left itself open to a sequel, one I would eagerly read if published.

    Nicole Melleby has carefully written a moving tale about how mental illness can affect a family. It's not only a wonderful book, but it's a great tool for young readers to learn about mental illness, sexuality, and art history too. I wouldn't hesitate to buy this for the young readers in my life and some of the adults as well.

  • Ms. Yingling

    E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

    Fig (given name Finola) and her father Tim live along the coast in New Jersey. Her father was an up and coming composer and performer before Fig's birth, but after her arrival, her mother left and her father struggled with the creative process. He has good days and bad days, and is especially disturbed by storms, which frequent their area at certain times of year. When her father comes to school in a very agitated state looking for Fig, her art teacher calls

    E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

    Fig (given name Finola) and her father Tim live along the coast in New Jersey. Her father was an up and coming composer and performer before Fig's birth, but after her arrival, her mother left and her father struggled with the creative process. He has good days and bad days, and is especially disturbed by storms, which frequent their area at certain times of year. When her father comes to school in a very agitated state looking for Fig, her art teacher calls children's protective services and has the family under watch. Fig feels that if she can keep everything together at home and do well on an art project about Van Gogh, her father will seem competent and they will be able to stay together. She gets help from an unlikely source, new neighbor Mark, who rescues her father from a storm and slowly starts helping the two put some coping mechanisms in place. Fig is able to let Mark handle some issues, and relaxes enough to try to make some friends, including Danny, who "like likes" her. However, when her father comes to a Halloween party looking for her, again in an agitated state, Mark takes even more action and makes sure that the father goes to a doctor and gets the help he so desperately needs. Adjusting to the medication isn't easy, but it does seem to improve things, as does the stable presence of Mark. Tim and Mark become romantically involved, children's protective services are pleased that Tim is making progress, and Fig is able to turn her attention back to the academic and social aspects of middle school.

    Strengths: It was refreshing to see a child in crisis at a moment when concerned adults were beginning to get involved. Fig's life has been difficult, but when it starts to become impossible, there are people there to help her. I think this is an important reassurance for young readers and a reminder that they should go to trusted adults if they have problems. Fig's attitude is understandable, and she tries her best to hold things together by being the adult but also trying her best in school. She is lonely for friends, but not romantically interested in Danny, mainly because she's 11, but also because she has a crush on an older girl who works at the library. Van Gogh and his problems are worked into the story in an interesting way, and the cover is a nice reflection of that theme.

    Weaknesses: There were a lot of issues. The dad's bipolar disorder, Fig's abandonment by her mother, Mark and Tim's relationship, Fig's questioning of her sexuality, and even a passing mention of Danny's father being in drug rehab. That's all fine; it's all appropriate to this age group, but by mentioning so many different things, it makes each one of them seem less believable to readers who may have no background knowledge about some of them. Having Fig's father be gay or bisexual is one thing, but to also have Fig be questioning makes both situations seem more unlikely and forced.

    What I really think: This was well written and enjoyable, but I will have to see if I need more books of this kind. With a limited budget, I can buy only a small percentage of each type of book, and books with sad issues and children overcoming adversity make up a large number of 2019 releases.

  • Fafa's Book Corner

    Mini review:

    I received this E-ARC via Algonquin Young Readers and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

    DNF

    Trigger warning: Mention of ‘sick’ parent. Most likely mental illness. And child services. Till the point I read.

    When I heard about this book through the publisher I was sold! I was so excited and happy when I got an arc. Unfortunately it wasn’t for me.

    I didn’t like the writing style. And didn’t much care for the plot or the characters. I can’t speak for the

    Mini review:

    I received this E-ARC via Algonquin Young Readers and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

    DNF

    Trigger warning: Mention of ‘sick’ parent. Most likely mental illness. And child services. Till the point I read.

    When I heard about this book through the publisher I was sold! I was so excited and happy when I got an arc. Unfortunately it wasn’t for me.

    I didn’t like the writing style. And didn’t much care for the plot or the characters. I can’t speak for the mental illness rep. Though from other reviewers I’ve heard it’s good.

    Still recommend.

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