Tag Archives: Hurricanes

Trudy Krisher. Fallout. New York: Holiday House, 2006.

FalloutStarting high school can be an unnerving yet exciting experience, full of change. For Genevieve Hardcastle, a teen in the 1950s, starting high school is beyond intimidating. That feeling is made all the scarier by the fact that her only friend, Sally Redmond, has moved far away, up to New Jersey. Genevieve likes being a wallflower. Genevieve doesn’t want to be embarrassed, and attention is the surest route to embarrassment. Last year, Genevieve had a taste of gossip and backbiting when she helped Sally in her campaign for class secretary. After witnessing Janice’s smear tactics, the already shy and awkward Genevieve has become even more cautious. She aims not to stand out, lest Janice Neddeger or one of her sidekicks catch her in the crosshairs and single her out in front of everyone.

Her mother, Martha, wishes Genevieve was more of a “go-getter” kind of girl. Martha (a homemaker and president of the town of Easton’s Welcome Wagon) encourages Genevieve to make friends, but to no avail. Even if Genevieve wasn’t quiet, she blames her parents for making developing friendships a little difficult. Between the plastic-covered furniture, her mother’s over-eager, hyper-positive attitude, and her father’s suspicious lurking around the house, Genevieve observes that her family and its dysfunctions aren’t as wholesome as Ozzie and Harriet. Genevieve’s father, George, is a solemn actuary, obsessed with disaster and disaster preparations. He also hangs on Senator McCarthy’s every word.

The coastal town of Easton is used to its familiar, traditional ways. The locals, Genevieve included, know when to sense an impending hurricane and how to prepare, for instance. They’re pro-American and pro-atom, and anti-Red. But all that changes when a new family moves to town. The Wompers — Harry, Patricia, and Brenda — are from California, although from the way Easton folk receive them, it seems they might as well come from outer space. The townspeople of Easton are taken aback by the Wompers’ strange ideas and expressions – their belief in raw food, their decision to eliminate sugar from the drug store they purchased, their atheism, and, most of all, their challenge of the Civil Defense curriculum with claims that the atomic energy is dangerous.

The Wompers don’t fit the standard mold. Mrs. Womper is a physicist who gives little regard to dressing in the style of all the other housewives; she favors sandals over heels. Before they moved, Mr. Womper worked in Hollywood, in the film industry. Brenda is outspoken and brave. She isn’t afraid to question her fellow students, or even her teachers. The Wompers’ open-minded skepticism and differences are frowned upon by Easton, and by Genevieve’s parents. But the girls bond after Genevieve’s algebra teacher assigns Brenda as Genevieve’s tutor.  They’re a pair of opposites. Genevieve is mesmerized by Brenda’s straightforward bravery; she describes herself as a hermit crab, self-protective and scuttling out-of-sight. Brenda lives by a set of “Rules for Thinking,” to question any belief, whether seemingly true or false, with detachment. Her dogma prompts sensitive Genevieve to eventually challenge Brenda’s scientific view of the world.

Fallout is set against the political atmosphere of the Cold War and the constant threat of an atomic bomb scare, and the literal atmosphere of a coastal North Carolina town during the thick of hurricane season. Trudy Krisher wisely plays the political and meteorological atmospheres against the distress and distrust of new people and new ideas in a traditional small town. The novel develops Genevieve’s character believably. At the beginning of the novel she’s a shrinking violet. By the end she isn’t fearless, but she’s less afraid, and her awareness of the world and powers of introspection have been honed. While the book cover indicates that Fallout is marketed for young adults, Trudy Krisher’s novel is a thought-provoking read, perfect for the upcoming summer.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2006, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Historical, Krisher, Trudy, Novels Set in Fictional Places

R. E. Bradshaw. Waking Up Gray. United States: R. E. Bradshaw Books, 2011.

waking At forty, Lizabeth is starting her life over.  Her marriage, to an inveterate philanderer, is finished and her daughter is grown.  Lizabeth has returned to school to study linguistic anthropology.  Her thesis topic is the Caroline Brogue, so she’ll be spending a few months on Ocracoke Island to do her research.

Lizabeth’s cousins have a cottage on the island, a place that Lizabeth used to visit as a child.  Lizabeth knows that she should call on Fanny O’Neal, the elderly woman who lives across the street.  Miss Fanny is an island treasure and almost kin.  But before Lizabeth can pay a call, she sees a brief romantic exchange between Miss Fanny’s granddaughter Gray and another woman.  Lizabeth is shocked by what she feels when she sees the two women, but that doesn’t keep her away from Miss Fanny’s.

Soon her visits across the street are matched by Gray’s visit to Lizabeth’s cottage and excursions around the island.  A same-sex attraction is new territory for Lizabeth, but even as she is exploring her feelings, Gray is struggling too.  Gray’s ex-wife, Dana, cheated on her and even after five years Gray is not ready to give her heart to anyone else.  Lizabeth, Gray, and Fanny survive a hurricane, but will the lovers’ budding relationship survive Dana’s unexpected visit to the island?

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Bradshaw, R. E., Coast, Hyde, Romance/Relationship

Edward P. Norvell. Ocracoke between the Storms. Winston Salem, NC: Distributed by John F. Blair, 2013.

Ocracoke between the StormsFour months ago, Luke Harrison lost his wife of four years, Karen, in a fatal car accident. Without Karen, Luke cannot find much purpose in his life. Luke’s father died when he was a baby and his mother was incarcerated following her addiction to drugs, so he spent his adolescence drifting through foster homes. Karen was Luke’s closest and only true family. Wracked with grief, Luke drives from his home in Kannapolis to Ocracoke Island where he intends to end his suffering by drowning himself. But just as the rough whitecaps are dragging him under, an unexpected bystander rescues Luke from the freezing water. Hank Kilgo, a retired Coast Guard officer, is Luke’s savior. After Hank pulls Luke to safety, he insists that Luke rest for the night at his home with him and his wife, Cora.

Luke continues to stay with the Kilgo family much longer than his initial invitation. The natives welcome Luke unconditionally. Before he knows it, Luke is immersed in the area’s island culture and takes on odd jobs. Novelist Edward P. Norvell portrays the intimate community of Ocracoke with painstaking detail. Norvell’s Ocracoke is a vibrant small town brimming with special traditions such as the Ocracoke Festival, volunteer efforts like a radio station-sponsored bachelor auction, and of course, local politics concerning the invasive Park Service and their protection of the loggerhead turtle population. The most colorful town character is Thomas Michael Joiner or TMJ for short. TMJ and Luke are a union of opposites. Where Luke is humble and modest, TMJ is gregarious and brazen. Despite the pair’s differences, Luke and TMJ become close friends, and TMJ helps Luke feel at home in Ocracoke, particularly amongst the other single twentysomethings on the island.

Slowly but surely, Luke forms a lasting attachment to Ocracoke. At first he tries to keep the situation casual–from his living arrangements, to his employment, to even his love life. The fact that Luke develops a love life only a few months after Karen’s death confuses him. During the night, he dreams of Karen and copes with his guilt over her accident and what he might have done to prevent it. The idea of replacing Karen so quickly strikes Luke as callous. Whether Luke is aware or not, Ocracoke and its people restore meaning to his life and help Luke survive his heartbreak. Ocracoke between the Storms is a tale of redemption and moving past tragedy in life. Norvell has written three other novels, Southport, Shadows, and Portsmouth, all of which occur in coastal locations around the state. Clearly, Norvell derives a large amount of inspiration from the beaches of North Carolina.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Coast, Hyde, Norvell, Edward P., Romance/Relationship

Roland Smith. Kitty Hawk. Ann Arbor, MI: Sleeping Bear Press, 2012.

I, Q: Kitty Hawk*This blog post highlights the third book in an on-going series. Some of the information provided for context might contain spoilers for events that occurred in the previous two books.*

Quest “Q” Munoz and Angela Tucker are just your normal, everyday teenagers – with rock star parents and inside connections to Secret Service operations, of course. This is the third book in Smith’s action-packed I, Q series. The first two books, I, Q: Independence Hall and I, Q: The White House, were set in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. respectively. For this next installment, Smith selected the smaller, but still historic, town of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. His series is aimed toward younger readers, but people of any age could find interest in Smith’s colorful cast of characters.

At the start of the series, Q’s mom, Blaze Munoz, married Angela’s dad, Roger Tucker. Angela’s mother, Malak Turner, a former Secret Service agent, is dead, and Q’s father, Peter “Speed” Paulsen, is a limelight-loving rock star. The happy couple formed a new band called Match and released a hit single, which prompted a nation-wide tour. Step-siblings Q and Angela are along for the ride, which has proven much bumpier and more suspenseful than expected. In the first book, they meet Tyrone Boone and his huge, slobbery dog, Croc. Boone, a roadie, is charged with looking after Q and Angela. But Boone is more than an old roadie; he’s a retired CIA agent with his an independent team of agents called SOS, or Some Old Spooks. And Boone has plenty of suspicions surrounding Angela’s mother’s death. Or supposed death…

By the third book, Q, Angela, Blaze, Roger, and the SOS group are in Washington, D.C. for a special concert at the White House. But a terrorist ghost cell has kidnapped President J.R. Culpepper’s daughter, Bethany; they plan to use her in a hostage video against the U.S. government. So Q, Angela, and the SOS team chase the terrorists down I-95 to rescue the president’s daughter. Unfortunately, there is a brutal hurricane headed right in their direction. SOS has help from a few other sources luckily, including Angela’s very alive mom, Malak, who is working to infiltrate the terrorist group. Yet Boone and Croc have some eerie talents and are pretty capable of taking care of themselves.

Smith sets a fast pace to the story. The book spans a single day with chapters segmented roughly into hour or two-hour blocks to keep the sense of urgency high. However, Smith cuts the tension with moments of humor, especially when Q’s father Speed shows up and almost derails the whole chase. With distractions like ostentatious rockers and violent hurricanes, Smith leaves his audience on the edge of their seats, turning page after page. Will Q, Angela, and the SOS team save Bethany in time? Or will the ghost cell succeed in their scheme?

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Dare, Novels in Series, Smith, Roland, Suspense/Thriller

Scott J. Toney. Hearts of Avon. United States: Breakwater Harbor Books, 2013.

Caroline Lilly made a mistake getting involved with John.  She was in high school when they met; John was a bit older and Caroline was flattered that he would take an interest in a young woman like her.  At first he was gallant and loving, but then he turned controlling and even violent.  To get away from John, Caroline and her mother leave Pittsburgh and head to the Outer Banks for a long vacation.  Caroline’s Aunt Suzie has a house on the beach at Avon.  The women are going there to paint the house, talk, and just enjoy some time together.

Ben is a different kind of painter. He and his father, Mason, are landscape painters who make a good living selling their artwork up and down the coast.  A chance encounter on the beach brings Ben into Caroline’s world, as he protects her from John and helps her to heal after Hurricane Irene tears up the Outer Banks and upends both their worlds.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Coast, Dare, Toney, Scott J.

E. M. Schorb. Fortune Island. Williamsburg, VA: Cherokee McGhee, 2009.

Jessie Judas is certainly the most famous person from Fortune Island, a small part of the Outer Banks.  At sixty, Jessie is an internationally known marine biologist whose books have reached a broad audience and shaped public debate about the environment.  Fortune Island was barely inhabited when Jessie was growing up, but those few people–good and evil–shaped her life.  A loving but sick mother, the midwife who brought her into the world, and Ruth, an educated woman who came from Boston to study the folklore of the area, nurtured her and sought to protect her. But as Jessie reached her teens, she misunderstood the adults around her, precipitating a crisis that deprived Ruth of the man she loved and haunts Jessie the rest of her life.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Coast, Schorb, E. M.

Diane Chamberlain. The Lies We Told. Don Mills, Ontario: Mira, 2010.

A marriage can go on for some time, with normal ups-and-downs, until something causes a delicate balance to falter.  Maya and Adam, both physicians, have been married for over a decade.  Both would like to have children, but Maya has been unable to carry a pregnancy to term.  The reason for this is unclear.  When a doctor suggests that scarring from an abortion could be the cause, Maya must tell the doctor and her husband that when she was a teenager, she had  an abortion.  Adam is angry that Maya had not told him that sooner, and a rift develops between them.

Maya is close with her sister Rebecca, who is also a physician.  But while Maya and Adam are in comfortable suburban practices in the Triangle, Rebecca jets to emergency sites around the world as a member of Doctors International Disaster Aid (DIDA).  Rebecca has long tried to persuade Maya and Adam to join her, even for just one trip. Shortly after Maya and Adam’s fateful discussion in the doctor’s office, a Category Four hurricane hits Wilmington.  Maya and Adam agree to join the DIDA team.

As the three work together, Rebecca comes to realize that she envies her sister and the stable life that she leads.  When Maya is on a helicopter that goes down in flood-waters, Rebecca and Adam are drawn together in their fear and grief.  They do not know that Maya is alive, taken in by an odd collection–good and bad–of backwoods people.  As the sisters struggle with these new situations, each reflects on her life, and the great trauma of their youth–the murder of their parents.  Each has a secret related to that awful event.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Chamberlain, Diane, Coast, Piedmont, Wake

Inglis Fletcher. Queen’s Gift. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1952.

This installment of Inglis Fletcher’s Carolina Series is set in Edenton, North Carolina during the late 1780s.  Political tensions run high in North Carolina after the colonies gain independence and the Federalists and Anti-federalists debate ratifying the Constitution.  Adam Rutledge and his wife Mary are highly respected political and social leaders in their community, but when Adam returns from an extended visit to Illinois with a different political perspective the couple goes through a stressful period.  Old friends (and North Carolina greats) like Samuel Johnston and Jemmy Lenoir are not pleased with Adam’s new politics. Mary has been in ill health, and the distance between Mary and Adam is compounded by Mary’s devotion to the plantation – Queen’s Gift – that has been in her family for years, while Adam has a vested interest in the success of the western territories.

With the help of new friends Sylvia Hay and Angus Moray, Mary’s health is restored. Adam’s demand for a Bill of Rights helps North Carolina ratify the Constitution and join the Union.  When a late brewing hurricane causes great damage to Queen’s Gift, Mary takes it as a sign to turn her sights to the West.

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Filed under 1950-1959, 1952, Chowan, Coast, Fletcher, Inglis, Historical, Novels in Series, Romance/Relationship

Nic Brown. Floodmarkers. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint, 2009.

It is September 22, 1989 and Hurricane Hugo is leaving its dark mark on Lystra, North Carolina. The power is out and the community is astir. The locals, and extended locals, are milling about the town attempting to work, corral their livestock or pets, party, and, of course, make last minute, emergency runs to the local grocery store. During all this the reader gets insights into the lives of the town’s inhabitants through 12 seemingly independent narratives that together tell the story of this small town and the day Hurricane Hugo hit.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Brown, Nic, Humor, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship