For Fig’s dad, hurricane season brings the music.
For Fig, hurricane season brings the possibility of disaster.
Fig, a sixth grader, loves her dad and the home they share in a beachside town. She does not love the long months of hurricane season. Her father, a once-renowned piano player, sometimes goes looking for the music in the middle of a storm. Hurricane months bring unpredictable good and bad days. More than anything, Fig wants to see the world through her father’s eyes, so she takes an art class to experience life as an artist does. Then Fig’s dad shows up at school, confused and looking for her. Not only does the class not bring Fig closer to understanding him, it brings social services to their door.
As the walls start to fall around her, Fig is sure it’s up to her alone to solve her father’s problems and protect her family’s privacy. But with the help of her best friend, a cute girl at the library, and a surprisingly kind new neighbor, Fig learns she isn’t as alone as she once thought . . . and begins to compose her own definition of family.
Nicole Melleby’s Hurricane Season is a radiant and tender novel about taking risks and facing danger, about friendship and art, and about growing up and coming out. And more than anything else, it is a story about love—both its limits and its incredible healing power.
About the Author
Nicole Melleby, a New Jersey native, is the author of highly praised middle-grade books, including the Lambda Literary finalist Hurricane Season, ALA Notable book How to Become a Planet, Camp QUILTBAG (co-written with A. J. Sass), and The House on Sunrise Lagoon series. She's also the author of Sunny and Oswaldo, her debut picture book. She lives with her wife and their cats, whose need for attention oddly aligns with Nicole’s writing schedule. Visit her online at nicolemelleby.com.
A 2019 Skipping Stones Book Award Winner
“Melleby’s debut offers a tender, earnest portrait of a daughter searching for constancy while negotiating her father’s sickness and the social challenges of tween girlhood, including her first crush on a girl.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Father and daughter find their way back to each other in this moving novel, and readers will root for Fig every step of the way.”
“Melleby doesn't shy away from how terrifying it is to watch someone in a dangerously manic state, but the narrative never tips into melodrama. A thoughtful portrayal of mental illness with queer content that avoids coming-out clichés.”
“Melleby deftly tackles weighty topics—mental illness, child protective services, single parenting, sexuality—while effortlessly weaving in elements of the life and works of Vincent van Gogh, creating a thoughtful, age-appropriate and impressive novel.”
—Shelf Awareness, starred review
“Fig’s story will engage middle grade readers who enjoy thoughtful novels that address complex topics. It may even inspire them to seek out the works of van Gogh.”
—School Library Journal, starred review
“Debut author Nicole Melleby’s novel is beautifully written, realistic, and thought-provoking.”
“Fig Arnold is an original and irresistible heroine in a story full of hope, art, and love.”
—R. J. Palacio, author of Wonder
“Melleby’s debut examines the complexities of having a parent with a mental illness and the responsibilities that kids sometimes must shoulder. Themes of trust and LGBTQ romance are incorporated into this weighty but hopeful story.”
“Melleby’s debut novel includes two coming-out stories—Fig has a crush on an older girl—but integrates these elements naturally into its main story of the father-daughter relationship, as each struggles with how much to share with the other and when. Details involving art and science (STEM-oriented Fig tries to relate to her musician father and draws connections between his condition and Vincent van Gogh’s) lend specificity and keep the plotlines centering on LGBTQ+ identities and bipolar disorder from feeling overly formulaic.”
—The Horn Book
“This debut novel—about taking risks and facing danger, about love and art, and about growing up and coming out—will make its way straight into your heart . . . stunning . . . I found it hard to put down.”
—Confessions of a YA Reader
“Hurricane Season is a powerful middle grade novel that deals with some really important issues . . . Fig is beautifully crafted and real, and readers will whole-heartedly fall in love with her.”
—YA Books Central
“[Melleby] handles several complex issues—bisexuality, single parenthood, LGBTQ issues, and mental illness—age-appropriately and with nuance. The novel includes interesting information about Vincent Van Gogh and shows young readers the transformational power of art. Melleby’s beautifully written and moving debut depicts a well-crafted character in search of safety and understanding. An important and expertly layered novel.”
—New York Journal of Books
“A warm, vivid, and resonant story of the child that resides in every guardian, and the guardian in every child. An important debut.”
—Eliot Schrefer, New York Times Bestselling Author of Endangered
“Hurricane Season is unforgettable. It will reach into your heart and stay there long after.”
—Donna Freitas, author of The Healer