Review: Don’t Call Me a Hurricane by Ellen Hagan

Don't Call Me a Hurricane by Ellen Hagan

Don’t Call Me a Hurricane
Ellen Hagan
Published July 19, 2022

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

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.

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My Review

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.

I think readers who enjoyed THE SEA IS SALT AND SO AM I by Cassandra Hartt or WE DIDN’T ASK FOR THIS by Adi Alsaid will not want to miss this one.

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Content Notes for Don’t Call Me a Hurricane

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

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl.

Spiritual Content
Eliza practices meditation to help manage her anxiety.

Violent Content
Eliza revisits memories of the hurricane that destroyed her home and nearly killed a family member.

Drug Content
Eliza and her friends get drunk and vandalize a home that’s under construction.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support this blog. I received a free copy of DON’T CALL ME A HURRICANE in exchange for my honest review.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

2 Responses to Review: Don’t Call Me a Hurricane by Ellen Hagan

  1. Roger says:

    I just wanted to thank you so much for all you do with your reviews. As a parent, it’s so helpful to see your thoughts on each book, plus the content notes about the profanity, sexual content, etc, in each book. I use your notes to help choose books for my young daughter that are age appropriate, so I can’t thank you enough!

    • Kasey says:

      Thank you for saying that. I hope you’re able to find some new favorites and authors to try. ?