Fig is not a fan of storms. Their coastal New Jersey town gets a good share of them. It’s not the wind, dark clouds, or rain, but rather the impact that the storms have on her father.
Her father was once a great composer but after Fig was born and her mother skipped town, Dad stopped composing. For days at a time, he checks out altogether. When a storm comes, he wanders outside and puts himself in danger. The last time he did so, Fig had to call the police to help, but that just made things worse as now the authorities are watching and threatening to put Fig in foster care.
When a new neighbor moves in and tries to help, Fig is wary. Every adult is a risk. But it’s a lot to ask of a sixth grader who just wants to fit in and have some friends. Fig has to learn that it is OK to accept outside help for her and her Dad. Along the way, Fig is learning about the life of Vincent Van Gogh and his relationship with brother Theo provides inspiration and helps her understand her father. (It also inspires the gorgeous cover of the book)
A touching story about family and friendship. The characters are complex and the relationship between father and neighbor is a nicely nuanced romance. A subplot about Fig’s ability to judge her own friendships is a pleasing analogue.