|Join Sherri Smith and hear the story of her mother’s experiences trapped in New Orleans during Katrina that inspires Orleans, our March Young Adult Fantastic Firsts pick. Maryelizabeth’s review below describes Orleans as a “heartrending look at an all too possible future where increasingly severe weather has led to a Gulf Coast ravaged by storms. “ Sherri has also worked in film, animation, comic books and construction, including stints at Disney and Bongo Comics. One of her earlier works, historical novel Flygirl, was an ALA 2010 Best Book for Young Adults.
This heartrending look at an all too possible future where increasingly
severe weather has led to a Gulf Coast ravaged by storms. The survivors of the
2019 Category Six hurricane are nearly uniformly infected with a deadly virus. Eventually
the area is walled off from the rest of the United States, leaving a struggling
populace divided into tribes by blood type, since blood type seems to
correspond to resistance to the Delta Fever. Fen is devoted to the leader of her O-Positive
tribe, and inherits her leader’s newborn baby after a vicious attack by a rival
tribe. U.S. resident Daniel may have developed a cure for Delta Fever – or a
new superweapon – and can only know for sure once he crosses the wall into the
Quarantined area. Smith’s language, especially Fen’s regional accent, and
convincing worldbuilding of a New Orleans with minimal population and none of
the cultural joys we associate with it, shine in this Fantastic Firsts pick.
Ana Shen has what her social studies teacher calls a "marvelously biracial, multicultural family" but what Ana simply calls a Chinese American father and an African American mother. And on eighth-grade graduation day, that's a recipe for disaster. Both sets of grandparents are in town to celebrate, and Ana's best friend has convinced her to invite Jamie Tabata-the cutest boy in school-for a home-cooked meal. Now Ana and her family have four hours to prepare their favorite dishes for dinner, and Grandma White and Nai Nai can't agree on anything. Ana is tired of feeling caught between her grandparents and wishes she knew whose side she was supposed to be on. But when they all sit down for their hot, sour, salty, and sweet meal, Ana comes to understand how each of these different flavors, like family, fit perfectly together.
When America enters World War II, the Army creates the Women's Air Force Service Pilots. Ida Mae Jones, a young African-American woman, suddenly sees a way to fly as well as do something to help her brother stationed in the Pacific.