Deep in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, fishing rodeo champion Evangeline Riley and her family live quiet, simple lives in the fishing village of Bayou Perdu, "a tiny, secret place that almost no one knows about." While Evangeline celebrates her 16th birthday, news reports come in that Hurricane Katrina has turned west, toward Louisiana. Mamere, Evangeline's beloved grandmother, announces the family must flee and "[w]hen Mamere sounds like that, everyone listens." From the crowded confines of a hotel overrun with other evacuees, the Rileys watch in horror as their way of life is swept away by one of the most devastating storms ever to hit the U.S. Suddenly adrift in a new school in Atlanta, Ga., and labeled a refugee, Evangeline longs to return to the open sea and her home. Fate seems to grant her a new chance at happiness with fellow refugee Tru, whose presence brings comfort, music and perhaps even love.
Between Two Skies by debut author Joanne O'Sullivan is a delicate, captivating story; her descriptions of Katrina and its monstrous damage are vivid and heartwrenching. The forced exodus of the Riley family brings difficult changes for all, as some members blossom in the big city while others seem to fade. Resonating with emotion and daring to bring readers into the heart of the south at a time of great sorrow and great joy, Between Two Skies is a multifaceted look at the places we call home and what it means to return. --Kyla Paterno, former children's & YA book buyer