Don’t Call Me a Hurricane
Published July 19, 2022
About Don’t Call Me a Hurricane
An affecting and resonant YA novel in verse that explores family, community, the changing ocean tides, and what it means to fall in love with someone who sees the world in a different way.
It’s been five years since a hurricane ravaged Eliza Marino’s life and home in her quiet town on the Jersey shore. Now a senior in high school, Eliza is passionate about fighting climate change-starting with saving Clam Cove Reserve, an area of marshland that is scheduled to be turned into buildable lots. Protecting the island helps Eliza deal with her lingering trauma from the storm, but she still can’t shake the fear that something will come along and wash out her life once again.
When Eliza meets Milo Harris at a party, she tries to hate him. Milo is one of the rich tourists who flock to the island every summer. But after Eliza reluctantly agrees to give Milo surfing lessons, she can’t help falling for him. Still, Eliza’s not sure if she’s ready to risk letting an outsider into the life she’s rebuilt. Especially once she discovers that Milo is keeping a devastating secret.
Told in stunning verse, DON’T CALL ME A HURRICANE is a love story for the people and places we come from, and a journey to preserve what we love most about home.
I think this is my favorite solo novel by Ellen Hagan. I loved the descriptions of Eliza out on the water, whether she was swimming or surfing. Those felt so much like my own experiences when I’m out on the water and feeling connected to nature and what’s happening around me.
Another great thing about DON’T CALL ME A HURRICANE is the scenes showing the meetings to raise awareness and protect the island’s marshland. It gave a visual to Eliza’s activism– though we see that in lots of other areas, too. She makes conscious decisions to buy clothes from thrift stores rather than purchase fast fashion items. She bikes all over the island. She and her siblings compete to see who can take the shortest showers to save water.
Those things might seem extreme to someone who isn’t experiencing the effects of climate change in their community. But as Eliza grapples with rising tides and new construction devastating natural habitats, her decisions, her proactiveness make so much sense. (Not that it should take direct experience to make a change…)
Eliza’s story isn’t simply the story of a girl fighting for climate justice. It’s also the story of a girl wrestling with trauma from surviving a violent hurricane, and a girl falling in love for the first time. Her emotional journey through the pages of the story gripped me. I loved each triumph and rooted for her through each heartbreak.
Recommended for Ages 12 up.
Eliza’s family is Sicilian American. Her best friend Isa is Puerto Rican. Another friend is nonbinary.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Kissing between boy and girl.
Eliza practices meditation to help manage her anxiety.
Eliza revisits memories of the hurricane that destroyed her home and nearly killed a family member.
Eliza and her friends get drunk and vandalize a home that’s under construction.
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