Publisher: Harlequin Teen


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

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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

The Perfect Anthology for Halloween: Toil & Trouble

The Perfect Anthology for Halloween: Toil & Trouble

Posted by on 10/12/2018 • 1 Comment

It is no secret that YA has been severely lacking with witchy content lately. I miss the delightful witchy pnr/urban fantasy that was so prominent in YA a couple years ago and I hope this anthology signals a comeback. SO. ANYWAY. When I heard about this anthology, I was ready for it. And it delivered. Like with any anthology, there were some stories that didn’t quite hit their potential, but I think I actually liked every single short story?? Which is quite a feat for an anthology.

I think my favorite thing about this anthology is just how much variety there is! It is extremely diverse but also, there is also just a huge variety in the kinds of stories being told. We get witch-y meet cutes, romances, horror, mystical,…

Review + Giveaway: The First to Know by Abigail Johnson

Review + Giveaway: The First to Know by Abigail Johnson

Posted by on 02/06/2018 • 12 Comments

Abigail Johnson is a new-to-me author so I had no idea what to expect but The First to Know blew me away. It’s a heartfelt family drama and totally worth it.

Dana Fields just wants to do something nice for her dad for his birthday. What starts off as a heartwarming gesture soon turns into Dana’s worst nightmare. In her search for her father’s family, Dana discovers that she has a half-brother her age that no one knew about.

When she confronts her half-brother, he wants nothing to do with her. With no one she can really turn to, she does what she really shouldn’t, she turns to her half-brother’s cousin (she and the cousin aren’t related by blood.)

I know, I know. This all sounds like…

Review: The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics

Review: The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics

Posted by on 09/13/2016 • 9 Comments

I literally don’t know how to start this review because there are a lot of things to say but they can all just be covered with a big NO. There is potential in this book but it’s all potential that is unrealized. From the spoilt MC who is a cardboard cutout to the world building, this book is just lacking. It isn’t BAD but it isn’t GOOD which is especially disappointing because I was really looking forward to reading this book.

The MC was a clear let down but I was really upset that the MC’s cutting is not at all talked about in ways that isn’t a character trait. It’s used as a description of the MC in the way an adjective might be used.

There are…

Behind the Scenes with Adi Alsaid + Giveaway!

Behind the Scenes with Adi Alsaid + Giveaway!

Posted by on 07/20/2015 • 14 Comments

I’m happy to be a part of the Never Always Sometimes tour today! I’ve got Adi here to take us behind the scenes on his writing, and you can also enter to win before you go! First, let’s see what this book is all about:

Guest post by Adi Alsaid

Behind the Scenes- My Writing Office(s)

As I sit down to write this, I’m at a restaurant patio in Siem Reap, Cambodia in the midst of a 5-week backpacking trip throughout Southeast Asia. I’m a bit sweaty, but it’s early evening and the heat is past its peak. My feet are up on the red cushion of the large lounging chair I’ve camped out in while I wait for my friends to finish their yoga…

Interview with Kady Cross + Giveaway!

Interview with Kady Cross + Giveaway!

Posted by on 05/01/2015 • 14 Comments

Being a huge fan of ghost stories, I’m excited to be a part of the Sisters of Blood and Spirit blog tour! I’ve got the lovely Kady Cross on the blog today for a short interview along with a giveaway! First, let’s see what this book is all about in case you missed out on this one so far:

Interview with Kady Cross Let’s start with giving us a brief description of this book using a tweet (140 characters or less).

Sweet Valley High meets Supernatural.

What was the hardest part of writing Sisters of Blood and Spirit?

Sorting out, and keeping track of what ghosts can and can’t do in this world, and then staying on top of which of those rules Wren…

Songs that Influenced Breaking the Rules + Giveaway!

Songs that Influenced Breaking the Rules + Giveaway!

Posted by on 12/08/2014 • 16 Comments

I’m a big an of the Pushing the Limits series and today I’m excited to have Katie McGarry on the blog to talk to us about this newest release, Breaking the Rules! Here’s a bit of info on this book first:

Guest Post by Katie McGarry

Songs that influenced Breaking the Rules

Breaking the Rules was a very emotional journey for me to write. At the same time, there were so many wonderful, sigh worthy moments between Echo and Noah that I never wanted the story to end.

To show the extremes of emotions of the story, here are two songs that heavily influenced Breaking the Rules.

The emotional side: “Try” by P!nk Loving isn’t always easy and neither is trusting. At times, we hurt the people…

Review: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Review: Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Posted by on 09/22/2014 • 9 Comments

There are some books you read for pure entertainment, and others, like Lies We Tell Ourselves, end up being much more than that. This novel tells an important story tied to our own history. One not too far in the past. One that is still a factor in our present, just with an altered face. It’s hard to read at times, but it’s also full of hope, strength and courage.

Not only is this an eye opening story, but it’s one narrated with the help of two wildly compelling teenage voices. The year is 1959, and Sarah is one of the first black students to attend a school that used to be all-white. This integration is not wanted by any of these white kids nor their parents, so you can…