The devastating superstorm arrives without warning at night, destroying the bridge connecting Haven, a New Jersey barrier island, to the mainland and isolating residents from one another; with her mother and fragile little brother on the other side, Mira Banul, 17, must cope alone.
Haven’s small, close-knit community is a world unto itself after summer vacationers leave. Mira attends a small alternative school with her friends Deni and Eva. The supportive island culture tolerates eccentrics like Old Carmen, a fisher and resident vagrant. The care and affection of neighbors and friends mitigate the effects of the rare disease crippling Mira’s brother. Now, without power or phone service, Mira’s alone in a cottage on stilts. Worse, someone’s been prowling around it. As wind and water invade her refuge, Mira forces herself to act, described deliberately in Kephart’s characteristically precise prose. She finds strength protecting what’s precious to her absent family: her brother’s collection of sands, her mother’s jewelry and art. She remembers to turn off the gas at the source. Caring for her rescued kitten comforts her through the long night. In the morning, she discovers the storm’s carried away the first floor of the cottage. Some islanders fare worse. She finds Deni, but Eva is missing. Then the prowler returns. Mira’s voice—lyrical yet gripping, specific yet universal—draws readers close to experience the storm and share her epiphanies.
A masterful exploration of nature’s power to shake human foundations, literal and figurative. (Fiction. 12-18)