Here's a little info about the book:
Hurricane Katrina sets a teenage girl adrift. But a new life — and the promise of love — emerges in this rich, highly readable debut.
Bayou Perdu, a tiny fishing town way, way down in Louisiana, is home to sixteen-year-old Evangeline Riley. She has her best friends, Kendra and Danielle; her wise, beloved Mamere; and back-to-back titles in the under-sixteen fishing rodeo. But, dearest to her heart, she has the peace that only comes when she takes her skiff out to where there is nothing but sky and air and water and wings. It’s a small life, but it is Evangeline’s. And then the storm comes, and everything changes. Amid the chaos and pain and destruction comes Tru — a fellow refugee, a budding bluesman, a balm for Evangeline’s aching heart. Told in a strong, steady voice, with a keen sense of place and a vivid cast of characters, here is a novel that asks compelling questions about class and politics, exile and belonging, and the pain of being cast out of your home. But above all, this remarkable debut tells a gently woven love story, difficult to put down, impossible to forget.
Joanne explains a little about her inspiration and the cover's design:
When Hurricane Katrina made landfall on August 29, 2005, no one on the Gulf Coast was unaffected. The media focused on the most dramatic images and stories, but there were so many quieter, yet also devastating stories that largely went untold. It was while I was digging deeper into these stories that I started to piece together the story that would become “Between Two Skies.”
I first read Wordsworth’s “Evangeline”when I was in college in New Orleans. This sweeping, melancholy love poem tells the story of a girl in Acadia (now Atlantic Canada) separated from her true love Gabriel on the eve of their wedding as the British forced French speakers out of Canada and they resettle in Louisiana. She relentlessly searches the frontier of the US for him, only to find him when it’s too late. The heroine of this story, Evangeline, is legendary in Louisiana.
When I read about the many people displaced by Katrina, I couldn’t help but connect the Acadians—exiled hundreds of years before—to this new catastrophe, this new exodus for some of their descendants. A new Evangeline and a new Gabriel took shape in my mind: Evangeline Riley, whose family’s fortunes are so entwined with the land and sea, and Tru Nguyen, whose family has endured exile before as war pushed them out of Vietnam. Like characters in the story that inspired them, they are caught up in circumstances beyond their control and driven out of the diverse and soulful place that is Southern Louisiana. Their lives are broken and bent into new shapes. The way they respond to this upheaval will determine their futures.
This cover, designed by Matt Roeser, references a passage in the book, where my Evangeline reads about the Evangeline in the Wordsworth poem as she observes the sky at sunset reflected in the water. Evangeline finds herself ‘between two skies,’ in the case of my story-between two lives; the one that can never be again, and the future, which might be starting to look brighter.
I’m excited to introduce you to my Evangeline and her story!
Ready for her cover?
Twitter // Facebook // Website // Pinterest