Pet by akwaeke emezi
Do monsters exist? Jam’s mom, Bitter, convinces her no such things live, particularly following the revolution from long ago, now life is peaceful and safe in the Utopian city of Lucille.
When Jam goes into her mom’s art studio with and accidentally cuts her hand on her mother’s razor blade saturated canvas, a few drops of blood is all that is needed to bring a monster to life. Part goat, part ram, multicolored metal winged, blind mind reading creature, asks to be called, Pet.
From there, Jam and Pet try to uncover the evil that lurks in Lucille, and once the truth eventually is revealed, it reshapes a hidden secret that gives cessation to Pet’s existence. Jam’s relationship with her family is stable and loving, and her bond with her best friend Redemption is charming.
What began as a very original and compelling adventure did not deliver as a cohesive narrative. This story had too many plots lacking direction. One account surrounding the revolution in Lucille’s past. The second centers around the origins of the Pet creature, which is engaging. Third, the abuse of the seven-year-old brother of Redemption by his Uncle, Hibiscus, is revealed and handled rather abruptly. By the end of the story, Hibiscus is laced with a blinding gaseous truth potion to admit his abuse on his nephew. Pet was selected a the National Book Award Young Peoples’s shortlist. Does this meet the criteria of a Newbery worthy book? Let us know.
Filed under: Book Discussion, Process, Uncategorized
About Annisha Jeffries
Annisha Jeffries is the head of the youth services department at Cleveland Public Library. She was a member of the 2007 ALSC Board and served on several selection committees, including the 2018 Caldecott Committee. A 2000-2001 Spectrum Scholarship recipient, Jeffries is currently the Chair of the Norman A, Sugarman Children's Biography Award. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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