A riveting tale of testing one’s mettle while finding one’s roots.
Alaine Beauparlant is a 17-year-old Haitian American senior living in Miami with her psychiatrist father. Alaine plans to follow in the footsteps of her renowned journalist mother by majoring in journalism at Columbia. With mere months to go before graduation, though, Alaine’s world starts unraveling and is later turned on its side when she royally messes up a school presentation. Her punishment is to spend two months volunteering in Haiti—though she wasn’t given much of a choice. Alaine wants to go to Haiti—the country both of her parents are from—but she would prefer it to be under much different circumstances. With the help of her Tati Estelle and, later, her usually distant mother, Alaine comes to find that there is much more to her family’s history than she imagined. In the process, she discovers an even deeper love for the ancestral homeland that she had only known from afar. The Moulite sisters’ joint debut has heart and humor. The varied formats, such as emails, texts, and letters, add interest and serve to make the story feel modern. However, the excessive pop-culture references are unnecessary additions to an otherwise captivating novel. This exploration of a culture steeped in magical realism beautifully showcases the sacrifices we are sometimes called to make for the ties that bind us.
Enchanting. (Fiction. 15-adult)