Lanesha and Mama Ya-Ya have gotten along just fine together in New Orleans' Ninth Ward since Lanesha's mother died in childbirth and her rich extended family didn't want to take her in. Mama Ya-Ya is getting old, but Lanesha can't imagine life without her. Lanesha sees ghosts, and that makes her a bit of an outcast at school. This starts to change when friendship overtures are made by Ginia and TaShon, but soon everything is interrupted by the arrival of Hurricane Katrina. Mama Ya-Ya's dreams tell her that the hurricane will leave the city intact, but there's something else that's not quite right, and the ghosts are unsettled too. Mama Ya-Ya and Lanesha have no means to evacuate, so when the hurricane comes, and the flood follows, it is up to Lanesha to be strong and pass this rite of passage into adulthood.Lanesha's voice is clear and vivid, but she often comes across as younger than twelve, perhaps reflecting the fact that the author has "dumbed down" her usual adult prose for this, her first novel for younger readers. The book's subject matter is handled very well, and appropriately for the intended audience. The hurricane and the flooding that follows are portrayed as absolutely terrifying without being too graphic. Especially good were the depictions of Lanesha's neighbors' reaction to the hurricane: some evacuated, some went to the Superdome, some stayed behind because they didn't think it would be bad, and some stayed because they had no means of leaving. This accurately reflects the diversity of experiences in New Orleans during the hurricane.I enjoyed this book for its subject matter--I think the hurricane is an extremely relevant setting, and the book was able to explore some of the issues surrounding it and what it might have been like for someone trapped in the middle. The actual plot and characters I didn't care for so much. I thought the author's portrayal of Lanesha was inconsistent--she often slipped into a characterization that I thought was much younger than twelve. And I didn't find Lanesha's ostracism followed by suddenly appearing friendships to be either compelling or realistic.