Garcia’s contemporary YA debut will take readers on a 24-hour whirlwind journey through the streets of New Orleans during midsummer Mardi Gras. Told in first-person by the protagonist, the story flashes back and forth to the present and past as the heroine recounts the details prompting her excursion to NOLA. The heroine proves interesting, although the reader doesn’t get the full picture of her, just her perspective. Additionally, it would have been nice to know more about the hero’s background, since little insight is given. Additionally, the romance is fast-tracked, and while that is somewhat understandable, given the premise of the story, readers still might find it too fast-paced. What makes this story stand out, however, is the supporting cast and their own adventures, Garcia’s descriptive writing and the moving and memorable one-liners.

Needing a respite from her situation at home, Julie travels with a youth group to New Orleans to help rebuild homes. While there, she decides to break away from the group and soon finds herself in the midst of the midsummer Mardi Gras celebration. When she meets a young musician with blue-tipped hair, he offers to show her around, and Julie jumps at the chance to see the festivities in New Orleans up close. The two decide not to exchange real names and to just live in the moment with the short time that they have together. Soon, Miles and Julie (Sunshine) are dancing under the stars and sharing secrets about themselves — while a Category Two storm is headed their way. (KATHERINE TEGEN, Jul., 304 pp., $17.99, ISBN: 9780062411808, HC, 14 & Up)

Reviewed by: 
Susannah Balch