I'm working with St. Martin's Press today to bring you a coming-of-age story about a girl with a complicated relationship with her father as she navigates the summer in the place of her parents' birth. Jamaica.
HURRICANE SUMMER by Asha Bromfield; On-sale: May 4th, 2021
In this sweeping debut, Asha Bromfield takes readers to the heart of Jamaica, and into the soul of a girl coming to terms with her family, and herself, set against the backdrop of a hurricane.
Tilla has spent her entire life trying to make her father love her. But every six months, he leaves their family and returns to his true home: the island of Jamaica.
When Tilla’s mother tells her she’ll be spending the summer on the island, Tilla dreads the idea of seeing him again, but longs to discover what life in Jamaica has always held for him.
In an unexpected turn of events, Tilla is forced to face the storm that unravels in her own life as she learns about the dark secrets that lie beyond the veil of paradise—all in the midst of an impending hurricane.
Hurricane Summer is a powerful coming of age story that deals with colorism, classism, young love, the father-daughter dynamic—and what it means to discover your own voice in the center of complete destruction.
There are a lot of things I loved about this book, but I first want to tell you that you are going to need some tissues and junk food to deal with your emotions because this book packs a punch.
Tilla wants to badly to earn her father's love, and the abuse she takes is absolutely heartbreaking. Part of me wants to understand where she's coming from but the other part wants to shake her and ask her WHY? Granted, I am the type of person to cut my losses, being a teenager and wanting so badly to be loved is familiar territory for a lot of young girls. Teenage girls go through a TON and our loss of innocence is different than boys when it comes to sexual exploration and coming to terms with our bodies and minds. Like Tilla, we tread across hot coals in being free to explore our desires and knocked down and burned when society deems us wrong for our choices. Tilla sees this first hand in the way she's treated by her family and those around her. She makes mistakes, yes, but there's no ill-intent. All Tilla wants is to be happy, to find her place, and connect with her past.
No, but really, this book took me through a rollercoaster of emotions. The journey the author takes us on is both captivating and heartbreaking. This story was written beautifully and captured the beauty of Tilla's world. If the rest of the book doesn't make you feel things, the ending will. I was fainting like a 1920's starlet. I could not think of a more perfect ending for Tilla's story. Although it's not truly an ending because Tilla is a fighter and she's going to begin her entry into adulthood with fresh eyes and a kinder heart.
I was given a free copy of the book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
EXCERPT FROM HURRICANE SUMMER
We touch down at 1:46 p.m. local time.
Warm air floods the plane as the doors open, and the sweet
aroma of fruit wafts in the air. Passengers race to grab their
bags as the thick accent comes over the PA once again:
“Ladiez and gentle-mon, welcome to Kingston, Jamaica. It
iz a beautiful day here on the island, and we wish you nothing
but irie on your travels. It has been our pleasure to have you on
board. As always, thank you for flying Air Jamaica.”
I gently shake Mia awake as Patois begins to pour out all
around us. I grab our backpacks from the cabin, and we throw
them over our shoulders before trudging off the plane.
As we make our way through the busy airport, we are sur-
rounded by a sea of rich, dark skin. I feel courageous as we
navigate through the brown and black bodies, and I can’t help
but wonder if the feeling of belonging is why Dad loves it so
Once we clear at customs, we continue our trek through
the massive airport. All around us, people smile and laugh,
and there is a mellowness to their pace. Most of the women
wear bright colors and intricate braids in their hair, Afros, or
long locks down their backs. An array of sandals and flip-flops
highlight all the bright painted toenails as Mia and I weave
through the crowd.
“Stay close!” I yell, grabbing on to her hand. When we find
the exit, I grow nervous knowing what awaits us on the other
side. I look to Mia. “You have everything?”
“Okay,” I whisper to myself. “Let’s do this.”
With our suitcases lugging behind us, we spill out of the
doors and into the hot sun. The heat immediately consumes
me, and it is amplified by the chaos and noise that surrounds
us. The streets are packed. Loud horns blare, and people yell
back and forth in thick, heavy Patois accents. Men argue on
the side of the road, their dialect harsh as they negotiate the
rates for local shuttle buses. Along the roads, merchants sell
colorful beaded jewelry and fruit so ripe that I can taste it in
the air. Women wear beautiful head wraps and sell plantains
and provisions, bartering back and forth with eager travelers.
People spew out of overcrowded taxis, desperate to catch their
flights as others hop in, desperate to get home. The sun pierces
my skin as the humidity and gas fumes fill my lungs. The ac-
tion is overwhelming, and I feel like a fish out of water. As we
wait by the curb, there is no sight of our father.
“What if he forgot?” Mia asks.
“He wouldn’t,” I reply. “Mom just talked to him.”
“What if he got the time mixed up?”
“He’ll be here.”
But the truth is, when it comes to our father, I can never be
I fight with this idea as five minutes turn into ten, and ten
The heat blazes, and sweat drips down my stomach.
I check my watch: forty-two minutes.
I pull my pink hoodie over my head to reveal a white tank top, tying the hoodie around my waist to better manage the heat. Without my phone, I have no way of contacting him to
see where he is.But he said he’d be here.
He gave us his word.
Fifty-six minutes later, our father is nowhere to be found.
My eyes frantically search the crowd as I ponder how much
his word is truly worth. Time and time again, he has proven
that the answer is not much. I turn to Mia, ready to tell her
to head back inside. Worry graces her face for the first time
since we left. Her carefree attitude fades as the concern of a
nine-year-old takes over. I can’t stand to see her like this, and
I’ll do whatever it takes to escape the feeling that is bubbling
inside of me.
We’ll take the first plane out.
“Mi, Dad’s not coming. Let’s go back insid—”
“Yow! Tilla!” A deep voice interrupts me mid-sentence. I
whip my head around to find my father standing a few
feet away with two freshly sliced pineapple drinks in hand.
“Daddy!” Mia screams. She drops her things on the curb
and sprints toward him. My heart does somersaults.
One glimpse of my father and I am a child again.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Asha Bromfield is an actress, singer, and writer of Afro-Jamaican descent. She is known for her role as Melody Jones, drummer of Josie and the Pussycats in CW’s Riverdale. She also stars as Zadie Wells in Netflix’s hit show, Locke and Key. Asha is a proud ambassador for the Dove Self-Esteem Project, and she currently lives in Toronto where she is pursuing a degree in Communications. In her spare time, she loves studying astrology, wearing crystals, burning sage, and baking vegan desserts. Hurricane Summer is her debut novel.