Chelsea, Catherine. “Summer of the Cicadas”, Red Hen Press, 2020.
The Coming of the Magicicadas
Welcome to Mayberry, West Virginia where we meet Jess, a disgraced former cop. Jess has lost everything and everyone she cared for and is now a void emotionally. Mayberry is filled with Magicicadas, a periodical insect that emerges in eastern America every 17 years. A situation arises and Jess is deputized. In the past she had been a good cop but she had made some wrong choices but is now needed to help with how the swarm of the Magicicadas is affecting the residents of Mayberry. As we read about Jess we realize that she is strong even after suffering tremendous loss. We are with her as she heals
from the loss of her family, killed in a car crash two years before the story begins. Jess is also dealing with her feelings for her sister’s best friend, Natasha, a town council member. After the swarm is finally removed, she must also face the two-year anniversary of her family’s death and Natasha’s romance with a local editor and a loss that changes everything.
Author Chelsea Catherine uses gorgeous prose to write about the cicadas who overtake and own Mayberry and the results of this. Her descriptions of nature are stunning and she creates a world for us just as she has creates very real characters. I can only imagine how difficult it was to bring the story of the cicadas together with Jess’s personal story of loss. We see the author’s ability to understand how everything comes together including terror and love.
The analogies to what we are dealing today as we face the Covid-19 pandemic jump off the page yet the novel was written before what we face now. There are some books that become more than just reads, rather reading them becomes an experience. That is just how I felt with “Summer of the Cicadas”.