Recently, I had the opportunity to review a book for the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival. The Eden Mills Writers’ Festival “celebrates the power of words- whether written, spoken, or signed- to ignite our imaginations and reveal worlds and ideas beyond our experiences. ” While the festival’s programming has been moved online this year due to Covid-19, I was still very excited to be involved.
As a book reviewer, I was tasked with reading a YA book highlighted by the festival and sharing what I enjoyed about it. The book I chose to read and review is called The Coming Storm, written by Regina M. Hansen.
You can see my review below, copied in full from the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival’s website, or click here to see it on their website.
The Coming Storm
Written by Regina M. Hansen
Published by Simon & Schuster
A book review by Leah, age 15.
Hi Leah! First question – What is this book about?
The Coming Storm by Regina M. Hansen is a historical fiction/fantasy book about Beatrice “Beet” Macneil, a girl living in P.E.I. during the 1950s who starts to notice strange occurrences in her town after a mysterious woman named Marina Shaw arrives and takes an interest in Beet’s baby nephew. Beet suspects that something is awry, and soon realizes that it will be up to her to defeat the growing evil before her friends and family end up in harm’s way.
What do you like about this book?
I liked how the elements of fantasy blend perfectly with the setting of the story in the maritimes. The crashing of the waves, the flocking of the gulls and the stories of men lost at sea support the idea that perhaps something supernatural is taking place. I also enjoyed that the narrator differed throughout various chapters. Getting to hear a story told from someone who doesn’t seem to initially have any connection to the main plot entices you, making you use bits and pieces of information to try to figure out who Marina Shaw really is and what she wants.
What do you like about the narrator/main character?
One of the things I liked best about Beet is that she was written realistically. She’s stubborn and makes witty remarks, but her remarks feel like something I or one of my friends might say. Beet also takes charge in crucial moments, but is hesitant to do so and is worried that she’ll make the wrong call. Finally, like most teenagers, she both loves her family and wishes to be treated as an adult by them. These qualities helped me to see myself in Beet, and reading the story became much more engrossing because I knew that I could understand the choices she was making. I also loved the relationship that she has with music, and the idea that music has power.
What important messages/themes are present in the story and why would this appeal to a young adult reader?
I think that one of the main messages this book sends is that you have to step up if you want to protect those you love. Everyone wants their loved ones to be safe, happy, and healthy, but ultimately we have to take on leadership roles if one of those aspects becomes negative. In The Coming Storm, Beet wants to protect her family from the strange occurrences in her town and the evil lurking, so she steps up by confronting the evil head-on. If Beet had done nothing, her family and friends would have been in serious danger. This message would appeal to a Young Adult reader because we know that change can only happen if we do something about it. It may not be easy or pleasant to make the change, but doing so will pay off if it means protecting those you love.
Who would you recommend this book to?
I would recommend The Coming Storm to anyone 12 and above. It’s technically a YA novel, but the beautiful storytelling and intricately crafted mystery makes it a perfect read for any age.
If you could ask the author a question, what would it be?
Which character do you think you have the most in common with, and which character was your favourite to write?
Thank you so much, Leah!