Posts Tagged: YA

Friday, October 04, 2019

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

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Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
Maika Moulite, Maritza Moulite
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication date: September 3rd, 2019
by Inkyard Press

When a school presentation goes very wrong, Alaine Beauparlant finds herself suspended, shipped off to Haiti and writing the report of a lifetime…

You might ask the obvious question: What do I, a seventeen-year-old Haitian American from Miami with way too little life experience, have to say about anything?

Actually, a lot.

Thanks to “the incident” (don’t ask), I'm spending the next two months doing what my school is calling a "spring volunteer immersion project.” It’s definitely no vacation. I’m toiling away under the ever-watchful eyes of Tati Estelle at her new nonprofit. And my lean-in queen of a mother is even here to make sure I do things right. Or she might just be lying low to dodge the media sharks after a much more public incident of her own…and to hide a rather devastating secret.

All things considered, there are some pretty nice perks…like flirting with Tati’s distractingly cute intern, getting actual face time with my mom and experiencing Haiti for the first time. I’m even exploring my family’s history—which happens to be loaded with betrayals, superstitions and possibly even a family curse.

You know, typical drama. But it's nothing I can't handle.
-A copy was provided by Inkyard Press for review-

Here is the thing, I like this book but it’s simply too long. At 432 pages, it took me days to drudge through. On top of that, I feel like the book is trying so hard to tackle so many things at once that it fails to really examine any of the issues it presents us with in depth. 

After a presentation that goes very wrong, Alaine is suspended. Her parents decide that maybe spending some time in Haiti will help Alaine redirect her energy so she is shipped off to live with her aunt and her mother – who is also licking her wounds. One of the conditions of her suspension involves her doing an internship at her Aunt’s major non-profit organization and so begins several months of Alaine connecting with her roots and learning about the country her parents left behind.  Along with learning about her heritage and country, Alaine gets wrapped up in trying to undo the family curse and trying to accept her mom’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. 

First things first, this book is pitched as being written in an epistolary format which had me excited, but it honestly didn’t read particularly read that way?? It felt very much like first person narration with bits and pieces of texts and emails thrown in. For those that don’t really like the epistolary format, this might be a good thing and make you more likely to pick this book up.

I love Alaine’s voice though and I love her discovering and unpacking the long term consequences of colonialism and imperialism during her time in Haiti. There are so many important discussions to be had in this book and I highlighted so many passages. I love that Alaine is allowed to have moments of ignorance which are then corrected by loving elders around her. I love that Alaine is allowed to be genuinely upset by her mom’s diagnosis and does some pretty impulsive stuff as a result.

With the way the book was set up thought, I really expected and wanted more one-on-one time between Alaine and her mother and we never got that. Alaine was struggling with the diagnosis but we didn’t get to see the two deal with what it meant or how they’d repair their relationship in the little time they had left. 

Alaine was also working in a very cool organization that I wish we’d gotten to see more of. Her time at the org was mostly shown as her flirting back and forth with the other intern and never really working on anything?? She makes one or two suggestions that are shot down and that was that. Given that interning at this org was one of the conditions of her suspension, it’s weird we didn’t see more of it.

Also, I am not entirely sure I even understood the family curse or the logistics behind breaking it?

On top of ALL of that, the book was pretty lengthy and there wasn’t much of a plot moving it forward. There were these strings of subplots that never really came together in a way that I felt was significant.

So, I think, maybe the issue wasn’t necessarily that the book was trying to do too many things because it still does some good stuff but, I think it needed to combine these issues in a more meaningful way and actually develop them more so that they could come together better. I’d still recommend this book to anyone looking for a cute summer contemporary read because there is a lot of fun to be had here! I just wish a couple things were done differently. Also everyone should read it and support it so we get even more Haitian #ownvoices down the road!

3 Stars
3 Hot Espressos

Great World Building But A Little Slow: The Magnolia Sword by Sherry Thomas

Great World Building But A Little Slow: The Magnolia Sword by Sherry Thomas

Posted by on 08/07/2019 • 0 Comments

With the upcoming release of the live action Mulan, there has been an upsurge in Mulan retellings and I whole-heartedly welcome it. I fell in love with Spin the Dawn so I was pretty excited to dive into The Magnolia Sword. I went into it hoping that I would be blown away the same way I was with Spin the Dawn but I was not. Having said that, I loved the world building SO SO MUCH and enjoyed the building romantic tension between the main characters.

Let me clear, I am not trying to compare The Magnolia Sword to Spin the Dawn. I only mention the latter because both these stories adapt Mulan and I love Mulan (I’ve only been exposed to the Disney version of this story.)  They may…

Revived My Love for Fantasy: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Revived My Love for Fantasy: Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Posted by on 07/23/2019 • 1 Comment

Spin the Dawn is the book I didn’t know I needed and I want to cry from how happy I am that I read it and that it could revolutionize my life. As a baby blogger, I rarely read contemporary. I exclusive read fantasy. These past few years though, fantasy has not really been holding my attention and I find myself avoiding it for the most part except for a few books here and there. Before Spin the Dawn, the last high fantasy I read was Wicked Saints back in April. I rated in 4 stars at the time but in retrospect it was not a 4 star read given that for half the book, my attention wandered. For the first time in literal years, I don’t want to read…

Review: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Review: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Posted by on 07/16/2019 • 1 Comment

A truly cinematic and unique novel, House of Salt and Sorrows begins during a funeral where we learn that one by one, the Thaumas sisters have been tragically dying. Soon our MC, Annaleigh, starts to wonder if Eulalie’s death was not accidental after all. This novels starts off fresh with a lot of faces, a ton of personalities, and plenty of mystery. I found myself engrossed from really early on, and looking forward to the wild ride this was bound to be. 

After the intriguing beginning, though, I found the pacing to be a little off. The story would lag in places until I was getting close to being bored. However each time that happened, the plot would suddenly jump forward to reveal something new, something exciting, even horrific, saving…

Review: The Arrival of Someday by Jen Malone

Review: The Arrival of Someday by Jen Malone

Posted by on 07/09/2019 • 0 Comments

The Arrival of Someday is a very emotional, very realistic novel that has all of the feels – yet has so much charm and wit that you won’t help but find yourself falling in love with all of its characters, no matter the gloom that follows the story. 

Amelia was born with a liver disease that hasn’t ever been an issue until now. Until its become so very real, so very scary, very fast. From the very first page I loved Amelia’s voice. Her personality and wit makes it impossible to dislike her. She’s got a lot of crap to deal with, and you can feel her anger, her despair, and also her passion for life. She wants to live, she has so many plans, so many wants and hopes….

Review: Destroy All Monsters by Sam J. Miller

Review: Destroy All Monsters by Sam J. Miller

Posted by on 06/25/2019 • 0 Comments

I chose to read this book because of the mention of a Patrick Ness-like style, and this is definitely true. It starts out confusing as heck, but in a good way. The kind of confusing that captivates you, and pulls you in fully with the promise of a very odd, gritty, mysterious book.

Told in dual POV, we go through this story with two very different angles. One is Ash who is your typical teenage girl who doesn’t completely fit in, but who’s also not a complete loner. Then there’s Solomon who takes us on a wild ride filled with dinosaurs, monsters, and magic. Which is real, though? Is Solomon just making this all up, or is it Ash who is unable to see the monsters? I found this aspect…

Best of Dogs and Humans: The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Best of Dogs and Humans: The Lovely and the Lost by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Posted by on 06/19/2019 • 0 Comments

I truly feel blessed anytime I finish a book by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Over the past year, she has quickly shot up to one of my favorite authors. Her talent for writing some of the best relationships to grace YA draws me in and I cannot help but finish any book I read by her with my mouth hanging open and desperate for a sequel. If flawed characters, found family, trauma handled well, the best of dogs and a bit of a mystery are your thing, The Lovely and the Lost is the book for you.

Kira does not trust many people except for her family. It took years after Cady rescued her for Kira to learn how to trust again and now she is following in Cady’s footsteps…

Mini Reviews: YA Contemporary Romance edition

Mini Reviews: YA Contemporary Romance edition

Posted by on 05/10/2019 • 0 Comments


With the Fire on High Elizabeth Acevedo


From the New York Times bestselling author of the National Book Award longlist title The Poet X comes a dazzling novel in prose about a girl with talent, pride, and a drive to feed the soul that keeps her fire burning bright.

Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions—doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.

Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth…