Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite
Co-written by sisters Maika and Maritza Moulite, and told in epistolary style through letters, articles, emails, and diary entries, this exceptional debut novel captures a sparkling new voice and irrepressible heroine in a celebration of storytelling sure to thrill fans of Nicola Yoon, Ibi Zoboi and Jenna Evans Welch!
When a school presentation goes very wrong, Alaine Beauparlant finds herself suspended, shipped off to Haiti and writing the report of a lifetime…
You might ask the obvious question: What do I, a seventeen-year-old Haitian American from Miami with way too little life experience, have to say about anything?
Actually, a lot.
Thanks to “the incident” (don’t ask), I’m spending the next two months doing what my school is calling a “spring volunteer immersion project.” It’s definitely no vacation. I’m toiling away under the ever-watchful eyes of Tati Estelle at her new nonprofit. And my lean-in queen of a mother is even here to make sure I do things right. Or she might just be lying low to dodge the media sharks after a much more public incident of her own…and to hide a rather devastating secret.
All things considered, there are some pretty nice perks…like flirting with Tati’s distractingly cute intern, getting actual face time with my mom and experiencing Haiti for the first time. I’m even exploring my family’s history—which happens to be loaded with betrayals, superstitions and possibly even a family curse.
You know, typical drama. But it’s nothing I can’t handle.
Expected publication: September 3rd 2019 by Inkyard Press
I first need to mention that I read an earc of this book. The formatting was messed up which made it harder to read. It’s possible that I would have gone up a half star, but I found myself lost during quite a few different parts of the book. It’s also a story told through letters, e-mails, social media, diary type entries, and more. My arc didn’t have chapters, so I’m not sure if the book will. Hopefully, because I feel it will be easier to follow.
I mostly requested this book because it takes place in Haiti. I always try to find books to read that will help me see the culture and beauty of another country. My favorite parts of this book were the stories, scenery, and the curse/vodou stories. I really wanted to connect with the characters in the book, but I struggled with this part. Alaine was fun. I liked that she was funny and sarcastic. Her project for school made me laugh. I would have loved more from her best friend, Tatiana. I did like Jason and wish we would have had more of his interactions with Alaine.
This book mostly focused on family. Alaine grew up with her dad. Her mom was a political reporter with her own popular show on TV. Because her mom was always busy, she often times flaked out on doing things with or for Alaine. Alaine’s mom is everything she wants to be though. A strong journalist that never falters during her interviews and stories. That is until she slaps a senator on live TV. Alaine’s mom leaves and goes back home to Haiti, the place she said she’d never return to. After Alaine’s issues at school, she is also sent there to do special work at her aunt’s program to help poor children. Alaine finds out that her mom has very early onset Alzheimer’s. This is shocking and terrifying to Alaine. She spends time trying to understand her mom’s disease, do her work, and learn about her history. Her aunt gives Alaine her mom’s old diaries and Alaine learns of a curse and what four teens did to try to break it. She gets it into her head that maybe she can break it and her mom will get better.
I enjoyed some parts of the story, but I also found it hard to pick up at times. Because of that, I gave this 3 1/2 stars (rounded up to 4). Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my review copy.
Warnings for abuse, attempted sexual assault, miscarriage, Alzheimer’s, death, curses, vodou, and some very shady business/political dealings.
Have you read this or is it on your TBR? Have you ever been to Haiti?