Review of Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
Favorite Quote: "There are no villains anymore. On television, in movies, villains are easily recognizable. The bad guys wear long dark robes and have no noses or wear tight fitting suits and have red eyes. There is something comforting in this idea that when you see evil you will know it. That it cannot be hiding in the everyday faces of people you ride the bus with or go to school with of share a sandwich with at lunch."
Synopsis: A genre-defying novel from the award-winning author NPR describes as "like [Madeline] L'Engle...glorious." A singular book 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?
A riveting and timely young adult debut novel that asks difficult questions about what choices you can make when the society around you is in denial.
Review: From the first chapter I knew this was going to be a five star read. This story is magnificence and magic even before you get to page one. As the reader you are quickly drawn into this idealized world. One where their society used to have problems like we experience now, gun violence, racism, unjust living conditions, but then had a revolution. The monsters of the world ceased to exist thanks to the angels. Jam, our main character, was born after these events, into a world without monsters.
Jam as a character is absolutely fascinating. She is described as "the protagonist of the novel. A 15-year-old Black trans girl, she is selectively nonverbal. Jam is supported and loved by her family and community." She uses sign language and a form of telepathy to communicate with different characters throughout the book. She is curious, and loyal, and considerate. She is able to exist the way she does because of the support from her family and community.
Jam struggles with the knowledge that their may be a monster on the loose. She fears that her friend, Redemption, won't believe such a terrible and mythical thing is happening in their world. She fears that the adults around her, who knew what the monsters were like, won't be able to accept that they may have come back. She does not know if she can trust Pet just yet, her parents told her to command him back in the realm of the painting, but Pet might be the only who will be able to help her catch a monster.
Equating the truly horrific things of our own world to the term monster makes the basis of this novel so easy to understand. We know the problems of this society because they are the same as our own. This story is able to make magic become tangible. The characters felt like people you could easily imagine. I listened to the audiobook read by Christopher Myers and could not recommend it more. Their voice is magnetic and fits the tone of the story and characters so well.
This book is a Young Adult Fiction which is a genre I will always love, and I believe this is a message for everyone of all ages to read. If you are interested in purchasing a physical copy of this book please follow the link down below for our bookshop page. If you are interested in purchasing the audiobook please follow the link down below for our Libro page.