Review of Dear Haiti, Love Alaine

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite
High School    Inkyard    428 pp.    g
9/19    978-1-335-77709-6    $18.99
e-book ed.  978-1-488-05133-3    $9.99

To avoid being expelled after a school presentation accidentally lands a classmate in the hospital, Alaine Beauparlant is sent to Haiti, her parents’ birthplace, to participate in a Spring Volunteer Immersion Project. The project gives the teen an opportunity to reconnect with her mostly absent mother (an award-winning journalist) and learn about Haitian history and her family’s role in the country’s beginnings after its emancipation from France. She also gets the chance to end a family curse with the help of the cute intern at her aunt’s charitable-support-app company, Patron Pal. The story is told entertainingly through Alaine’s and her mother’s diaries, letters, newspaper articles, emails, and text messages. The protagonist’s snark, as she calls it, comes through clearly. Alaine is a strong and engaging character, and her family members and their enduring belief in an ancestral curse are similarly well drawn. An authors’ note alludes to the role of real-life revolutionary and political exile Marie-Louise Coidavid, whose story is reimagined in alternate-history sections of the novel, with Alaine’s family as her fictional descendants (although more concrete information would have been helpful for readers unfamiliar with the history of the Haitian Revolution).

From the November/December 2019 Horn Book Magazine.

Nicholl Denice Montgomery

Nicholl Montgomery is currently working on a PhD at Boston College in the Curriculum and Instruction department. Previously, she worked as an English teacher with Boston Public Schools.

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