April is alone in the world. When she was only a baby, her teenage mother took off and now, unbelievably, her dad has died. Nobody's left to take April in except her mom's sister, a free spirit who's a chef in New Orleans--and someone who April's never met. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, April is suddenly supposed to navigate a city that feels just like she feels, fighting back from impossibly bad breaks. But it's Miles, a bayou boy, who really brings April into the heart of the Big Easy. He takes her to the cemetery where nineteenth-century voodoo queen Marie Laveau is buried, and there, April gets a shocking clue about her own past. Once she has a piece of the puzzle, she knows she will never give up. What she doesn't know is that finding out the truth about her past and the key to her future could cost her everything--maybe even her life.
What worked: I'm a huge fan of genealogy and those who search for their ancestors. Sobel does a good job showing how April searches for the truth of her connection to a mysterious photo of a woman. The roadblocks some in a family place on admitting some family secrets rang very true considering I personally had a similar experience while doing my own genealogy.
The city of New Orleans is a character too. Sobel shows the city in vivid colors including the ravages of Hurricane Katrina that still affect the people to this day.
What I did have issues with had to how the dialogue at times felt like passages right out of Wikipedia. I got that Miles was a haunted tour guide and was trying to show off his knowledge of the city to April but those interactions went on a tad bit too long.
Though the story had tension with April making a reckless choice, it felt as if the problem was resolved too quickly. I almost wanted more tension and suspense. This is where I thought the blurb was a little misleading. I expected more conflict but that's just my opinion.
What does work is a teen's quest to find the truth behind her heritage, even if that means coming across some that want to forget the past. April's search leads her to paths she never knew she'd go on.
Determined teen searching for the truth of her heritage while coming to grips with the pain of loss.