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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Sophia's Storm: The 1900 Storm is a young adult historical coming of age novel written by Cara Skinner. The highlight of Sophie’s summer was the week that her family would spend every year at the family beach house on Galveston Island. She loved watching the waves wrestling with the winds and feeling the salty moist air as she lounged on the sandy beach. Each day, she’d pack up a lunch and beverages and go to her secret cove. This year it was different, terribly so as her Aunt Sophia had passed away. Sophie and Aunt Sophia had been partners in crime, soul mates as it were, and they had spent so many hours walking on the beach and talking about everything and anything.
Aunt Sophia had asked Sophie the previous summer how old she was. There was something Aunt Sophia had been waiting to tell her, something about her past, but she had decided to wait one more year. Now she was gone, and Sophie couldn’t help but wonder what it was she had wanted to share. Sophie had the small bedroom, which she and her aunt used to share, to herself now, but one night a noise woke her up and she saw a hazy image of what Aunt Sophia would have looked like when she was younger. She seemed intent on getting Sophie to look in the closet. Following the directive, Sophie found an old journal she had never seen before. Aunt Sophia had started her journal when she was twelve years old, which she began with the story of her parents’ immigration from Austria. Sophie quickly became engrossed in her aunt’s story, which described her experiences during the great storm of 1900 that devastated the island.
Cara Skinner’s historical coming of age tale, Sophia's Storm: The 1900 Storm, is a marvelous novel which follows the 1979 coming of age of Sophia and that of her aunt over seventy years prior. Skinner’s descriptions of Galveston beach are lyrical and transcendent; one can hear the waves crashing and the seagulls calling as they hunt for fish, and the sun and sand become uncannily real. Sophie’s growing friendship with Logan is a marvel to watch, and her aunt’s nocturnal visitations are powerful and add beautifully to the tension of the story. The underlying journal of Sophia is a marvelous piece of historical writing which shares the experiences of Sophia’s parents in Austria, their journey to the new world and early lives in Galveston. The actual descriptions of the storm and its aftermath are powerful and unforgettable. Sophia's Storm: The 1900 Storm is most highly recommended.