Kirkus Reviews QR Code
AGAINST THE WIND by Dawn C. Crouch


Jane-Claire’s Personal Salvation

by Dawn C. Crouch

Pub Date: Dec. 13th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-67329-781-2
Publisher: Self

In Crouch’s YA novel, a teenage girl and her family contend with the effects of Hurricane Katrina.

Gulfport, Mississippi, residents are bracing themselves for what they hope will be another rough but manageable storm. Nothing, however, can prepare 15-year-old Jane-Claire Stevens and her family for the devastation that Hurricane Katrina brings. As windows shatter and the wooden frame of their house begins to splinter, they take shelter and wait it out. What they see once the storm has passed is an unrecognizable, uninhabitable town; children’s lifeless feet poke out from beneath the rubble of a flattened home. Meanwhile, Jane-Claire’s father, Mason, a doctor at the local hospital, is faced with a sudden wave of emergency cases. His temper frays in the high-pressure environment, and he’s less than welcoming to his family when they arrive there. He recommends they take refuge inland while he stays behind to treat the injured and deal with their badly damaged home. Jane-Claire, her mother, Dona, and her brother, Lerue, have no option but to head to Huntsville, Alabama, to stay with Dona’s old friend Kit and her husband, Martin. It quickly becomes apparent, though, that Kit’s generosity comes at a price, and soon, an unexpected and terrible occurrence makes the living situation untenable. What begins as a disaster novel develops into a more complex story of rebuilding—not of the property devastated by the storm but of the family, stuck in a new town with a new set of rules. The storm hasn’t really touched Huntsville, but the influx of victims seeking shelter there has had effects of its own. Crouch manages to capture the stigma of otherness that refugees face and does an impressive job of highlighting how difficult it can be to integrate into an unfamiliar community.

An engrossing, sensitive story of the emotional aftermath of a major natural disaster.