The story, by Ellen Urbani, takes place in New Orleans during the chaos of Hurricane Katrina.

BOOK COVER - Community Read's book selection."Landfall," by Ellen Urbani, is the selection for this year's Jefferson County Read events.

Portland author Urbani's book takes place in New Orleans, during the chaos of Hurricane Katrina.

In the story, Rosebud Howard almost survives. She charges through the Lower Ninth Ward, beating the wall of floodwater by a half-block. She clambers out of an attic, onto a roof, into a rowboat.

But her grueling trek to Tuscaloosa, in search of help for her family, ends when she's hit and killed by a car laden with supplies for Hurricane Katrina victims. Passenger Rose Aikens, orphaned by the crash, climbs away from the wreck after lacing the dead girl's sneakers onto her own feet.

When she discovers they share not only shoes but a name and a birth year, Rose embarks upon a guilt-assuaging odyssey to retrace Rosebud's last steps and locate her remaining kin.

The stories and destinies of these two teenagers — one black, one white — converge in "Landfall," giving voice to the dead and demonstrating how strangers, with perseverance and forgiveness, can unite to reconstruct each other's shattered family histories.

Community Read events and the author's visit begin in April, but copies of the book will be available after Dec. 1, for $10, at the Jefferson County Library and the Madras-Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce.

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