by Kacen Callender
Caroline is considered unlucky because she was born during a hurricane. She has lived her whole life on Water Island, and takes a water taxi every day to her school on St. Thomas (part of the US Virgin Islands). As a young child, she once fell off the water taxi, and before being rescued from the depths of the ocean, she sees a mysterious presence: a woman standing on the ocean floor who she describes as "...blacker than black, blacker than even me". As Caroline grows up, she continues to catch glimpses of this ghostly presence on land and begins to wonder if she really is cursed. Lonely and bullied at school, Caroline shares her story through a captivating first-person narrative. She is searching for her mother, once the center of her universe and her greatest source of love, who disappeared over a year ago. And what does it mean when a new student at school, Kalinda, befriends Caroline and ignites new feelings of love? This thoughtful debut novel from celebrated author Kacen Callender is a great pick for independent readers interested in friendship stories and strong character development. Themes of identity, queerness, complex family dynamics, and a hint of magical realism also make it an excellent choice for reading aloud with young people.
See the Jones Library Antiracism Book List for recommended titles for all ages.