432 pages | Inkyard Press | Contemporary | 09/03/2019
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine is a book that defies categorization as Alaine, an aspiring journalist and daughter of one of the biggest Black women in broadcasting, (read: Joy-Ann Ried or Melissa Harris-Perry ) begins a project to follow the history of her Haitian family. Told in diary entries, e-mails, letters and text this book takes some deeply emotional turns and dives into the complications of mother-daughter relationships and unspoken family history–with a touch of magical realism.
Right out of the gate Alaine is an extroverted over-confident character with a story to tell, I always enjoy seeing extroverted female characters in YA, her confidence is somewhat well earned as she is the daughter of a psychologist and famous talk show host–who hails from Haitian royalty. When a tragic diagnosis puts her mother’s career in jeopardy she and Alaine head down to Haiti, where Alaine becomes wrapped up in the possibility of setting her family free from a curse that has followed them for centuries.
We get to follow Alaine as she meets her extended family, learns about her parent’s roots while also working for her aunt’s start-up where she has a slight romance that I kind of could have done without, it felt like it had been placed in last minute.
This book actually strikes a pretty sweeping emotional turn and I was sort of surprised by the dark and somber turn this book took as we learn about secrets of Alaine’s mother’s past and how it all comes back to the present. It is interesting seeing Alaine, who is used to being decisive and loud, have to listen and really consider his actions as she starts looking into the curse.
This debut novel is a surprising look at how deep roots of a family tree are and the ever change tides of mother-daughter relationships.
Because of the bright colors on the cover and Alaine’s spunky attitude, I thought this was going to be a bright, funny summer read. I mean hate to complain but I truly feel like this book does not have an appropriate cover. I liked this cover but it looks a lot like Terry McMillian’s last book cover. I think it’s something about the shades and lipstick that looks very…adult.