If you've been here for a while, then you should know by now that I have a total crush on Akwaeke Emezi. They are so talented and otherworldly. The Death of Vivek Oji still dwells in a corner of my heart. I enjoyed the unique story of Pet and the complexity of the deeper message for a middle grade/YA book. And listening to Dear Senthuran in Emezi's own voice just solidified it for me. I'm obsessed with this writer and will buy/read anything they publish.
When reading Pet, I loved Jam and her best friend. But I was deeply intrigued by her parents. Bitter and Aloe. I wanted to learn more about this lovely couple who seemed so different but we're utterly accepting of their daughter's gender identity.
I was so excited to learn that Emezi was writing a prequel to share Bitter's story with us. It did not disappoint. At. All. I was immediately engrossed in the story of this young woman with her defenses firmly up after years of pain and focusing on survival, as she slowly finds folks special enough to break through her armor. The overall plot of how the "monsters" of Lucille are hunted down is amazing social commentary about our current world. This would be an amazing text for the classroom.
Emezi certainly has a way with words that is like nothing I've read or seen before. It's simple, yet sharp. Writing beautifully shit ugly parts of humanity. Fully drawn out characters, I mean people, who literally come alive on the page.
Well that's my book rant. I don't know how else to say that Bitter was amazing and everyone needs to read it ASAP!
Hit up your public library, local bookstore, or visit Tuma's Books to get a copy. Start with Pet first!
Where my fellow Emezi fans at? What's your favorite work?