Featured Review: Pet (Akwaeke Emezi)

38612739

About This Book: 

The highly-anticipated, genre-defying new novel by award-winning author Akwaeke Emezi that explores themes of identity and justice. Pet is here to hunt a monster. Are you brave enough to look? There are no monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with this lesson all their life. But when Jam meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question—How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist? Acclaimed novelist Akwaeke Emezi makes their riveting and timely young adult debut with a book that asks difficult questions about what choices you can make when the society around you is in denial.

 

 

*Review Contributed By Paige Cee Staff Reviewer*

 

 

 

Recently recognized as a National Book Award finalist and a Stonewall Honor book, Pet is also Akwaeke Emezi’s YA debut and the first title from Random House’s Make Me a World imprint. This short novel has been a bit of a Big Book with a good reputation that precedes it well in advance and good lord, I’ve been excited to read it. It’s well worth that reputation too!

The city of Lucille is set up as a near-future utopia where Jam’s generation is the first to be born after all the monsters were vanquished by the angels and everything is good even though older generations like Jam’s parents still remember what a world full of monsters what like. And what were the monsters? Just like the angels, they were equal parts people and ideas, so one monster might be a corrupt politician and another might be the entire idea of transphobia. However, the angels still walk the earth. One of them is Hibiscus, the uncle of Jam’s best friend Redemption and a martial artist who teaches people how to fight.

Emezi’s portrait of Lucille is beautiful and makes me feel hopeful for a better future we can all fight to reach, but the thing is that there is a monster in Lucille no matter how badly the adults want to believe there isn’t. If there weren’t a monster, Jam wouldn’t have been able to summon Pet from one of her mother’s paintings the way her mother once did during the war against the monsters. Pet is there to hunt down the monster with Jam–and that monster is in Redemption’s house.

Pet is a novel dominated by florid language and highly relevant themes, not the plot. If you step back and think about the sequence of events, the hunt for Lucille’s monster is actually over with very quickly. With some of the prose trimmed down, the book would be solidly in novella territory. While that prose is often gorgeous, it’s sometimes overwritten in such a way that it pads out the book count and just plain bad on rare occasions. One line that stood out to me is “Jam straightened herself and tried to inject calm under the skin of her face” from page 114.

Injecting calm under the skin of one’s face. I just. My intense fear of needles makes that imagery particularly horrifying in a way it isn’t meant to be.

FINAL VERDICT:
In my opinion, Pet should have won the 2019 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Maybe the nonfiction book about 1919 that won it this year is great–I don’t know, I haven’t read it and don’t plan to–but I can’t imagine it’s as good as Pet. This is a novel I adore as an adult and needed as a child who encountered her own monster and didn’t know what to do about it. It’s a reminder that we must never forget what the monsters look like because even when we think we’ve beaten them, they’ll be back the instant we forget them.

 

 

 

*Find More Info & Buy This Book HERE!*

 

 

Author Chat with Elana K Arnold (Red Hood), Plus G...
Author Chat with Helena Ku Rhee (The Paper Kingdom...

Related Posts

 

Comments

Already Registered? Login Here
No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

These Feathered Flames (These Feathered Flames, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When twin heirs are born in Tourin, their fates are...
The Mother of Monsters
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Mischievous Ntombi is not at all afraid of the fearsome...
Grim, Grunt and Grizzle-Tail: A Story from Chile
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Brave young Pedro faces monsters and greedy guards when he...
What Beauty There Is
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
What Beauty There Is is Cory Anderson's stunning YA...
Baseball Baby
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
This original board book series, which begins with America's favorite...
I Am Not a Penguin
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
This hilarious story of a pangolin with an identity crisis...
Poison Priestess (Lady Slayers, #2)
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
In 17th-century Paris, 19-year-old Catherine Monvoisin is a well-heeled...
Sam Can't Sleep
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
When Sam can’t sleep, he decides to ask all the...
The Prison Healer (The Prison Healer, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan has spent the last ten years...
Fate Calling
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A cursed fae prince. A lonely human lass. A...
Welcome to California
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome to California! We're glad you're here! Introducing a new...
Zoe Rosenthal is Not Lawful Good
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A buttoned-up overachiever works overtime to keep her inner...
The Other Side of Perfect
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Sarah Dessen and Mary H.K. Choi, this...
The Sky Above Us
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
From the author of We Speak in Storms comes...
Zoom: Dinosaur Adventure
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Join Jasmine and Jamie as they travel back in time...
Let's Pretend Fire Station
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
It's a busy day at the fire station! Chldren can...

Latest Member Reviews

These Feathered Flames (These Feathered Flames, #1)
 
5.0
"THESE FEATHERED FLAMES is an enchanting YA fantasy about sisterhood, power, and destiny. When twins are born in the royal..."
The Mother of Monsters
 
4.5
"‘The Mother of Monsters’ by Fran Parnell, illustrated by Sophie Fatus, tells the story of Ntombi, the chief's daughter. She..."
Grim, Grunt and Grizzle-Tail: A Story from Chile
 
4.5
"‘Grim, Grunt and Grizzle-Tail’ by Fran Parnell, illustrated by Sophie Fatus, is great for younger elementary readers and anyone who..."
Baseball Baby
 
5.0
"BASEBALL BABY is a delightful board book about baseball. The book begins with heading to the park to play baseball..."
I Am Not a Penguin
 
4.0
"I AM NOT A PENGUIN is a silly picture book that manages to teach young readers about pangolins. A pangolin..."
Sam Can't Sleep
 
4.5
"SAM CAN'T SLEEP is a fun picture book read that introduces the concept of nocturnal animals. It's nighttime, and all..."
Welcome to California
 
4.0
"WELCOME TO CALIFORNIA is a fun picture book of facts about the state. It covers topics from the state capitol..."
The Other Side of Perfect
 
4.3
"THE OTHER SIDE OF PERFECT is an engrossing YA contemporary about loss, grief, moving on, friendship, and sisterhood. Alina has..."
Zoom: Dinosaur Adventure
 
4.5
"ZOOM: DINOSAUR ADVENTURE takes the reader on a journey to the time of the dinosaurs. Jamie and Jasmine are going..."
Let's Pretend Fire Station
 
5.0
"LET'S PRETEND FIRE STATION is a delightful peek-through board book about firefighters. The book features pictures of children, firetrucks, and..."
Rosa Loves Dinosaurs / A Rosa Le Encantan Los Dinosaurios
 
3.5
"ROSA LOVES DINOSAURS/ A ROSA LE ENCANTAN LOS DINOSAURIOS is a fun bilingual board book about a love of dinosaurs...."
Things That Go (I Can Learn)
 
5.0
"THINGS THAT GO is a delightful lift-the-flap and peek-through exploration of vehicles. In three sets of pages with flaps, die-cuts,..."
Welcome to Florida
 
4.3
"WELCOME TO FLORIDA is a fun touristy picture book about the state of Florida. The book goes through some of..."
Indivisible
 
5.0
"INDIVISIBLE is a heartfelt and riveting YA contemporary about family, feeling different, and immigration in the US. Mateo is a..."
My Last Summer with Cass
 
5.0
"“A good friendship is like a work of art.” Megan and Cass have been friends forever. Their..."
The Lightbringer: Through the Elder Stone
 
5.0
"The Lightbringer plays on that classic trope of light vs dark, but in a fresh way with unheard of magical..."
Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch
 
5.0
"Eva Evergreen is a young witch about to embark on her Novice Quest. As the daughter of one of the..."
Homer on the Case
 
4.5
"HOMER ON THE CASE is a delightful middle grade mystery, featuring unlikely detectives. Homer, a homing pigeon, and Lulu, a..."
The Thingity-Jig
 
5.0
"THE THINGITY-JIG is a fun picture book read about invention and friendship. Although all his friends are asleep, Bear feels..."
The Prison Healer (The Prison Healer, #1)
 
5.0
"THE PRISON HEALER is a stunning and captivating YA fantasy read. This book takes place in a prison, Zalindov, which..."