I wanted to start the month off with a fun sort of romp through a good book, and that’s definitely what I stumbled upon at my public library.
Summary: 12 year old Sunny has lived in Nigeria for 3 years. Her parents are from Nigeria but lived in NYC till Sunny was 9 when they moved back to West Africa. Sunny gets taunted by her classmates for being akata, an offensive term for foreign-born blacks. The irony of it is, she is Igbo (Nigerian) but also albino. She loves to play soccer but can only play at night with her brothers. She has to carry a black umbrella around everywhere. And as a girl, she’s a perpetual disappointment to her father who only wanted boys.
One day, she makes a new friend named Orlu. He introduces her to his friend Chichi, a sassy girl of indeterminate age (12? 17? 3,000? Hard to say) who pushes Sunny to take an oath of secrecy one day–and tells her about the Leopard People. Leopard People are the magical race of Nigeria, what Europeans would call witches and wizards, perhaps. And Sunny is one of them! She is a “free agent” meaning her parents are not Leopard People like Orlu’s and Chichi’s. And she has a lot to learn!
She must pass tests, learn rules, find her juju knife and pass the Ultimate Test–find and help destroy the evil that a powerful and corrupt Leopard Person has brought into the world.
What I liked: This story was FUN to read! And quick, but not like “in 2 hours quick.” It kept me engaged all the way through. And learning about juju? Even a little? AWESOME. And the different spirits, like the masquerades? WICKED FUN.
What I Disliked: Really nothing.
What I LOVED: Sunny is a kick-ass female protagonist, spicy and fiery and full of life without going looking for trouble. In a culture that does not value women, she shines.