Book: Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite
Expected Publication Is September 3, 2019 by Inkyard Press|Expected Number Of Pages: 384
Where I Got It: I received an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review
Genre: YA Contemporary
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.
I wish I liked Dear Haiti, Love Alaine, but it was a hard book for me to get through, and I ended up not liking it.
It’s told in a mixed media format, so you see news articles, emails, texts, transcripts, and diary entries from both Alaine and her family. That didn’t work at all in an e-book format. It just didn’t look great, but keep in mind I was reading an advance copy, so I’m pretty sure it’ll look better once it’s actually published.
I did have a hard time getting through the book, and part of it is that the mixed media form of story-telling didn’t work in an e-book form. A few parts of the text were out of order, and it’s hard to have a good flow when you start a new section or chapter in the middle of a sentence. Again, I’m sure that will be fixed by the the time the book actually comes out, but it did affect my reading experience.
Part of why I struggled with the book was the random tangents. We’d be reading things from Alaine’s point of view, and then suddenly, we’d be getting imagined emails between her mom and someone at GNN, where her mom used to work, or diary entries on a centuries old family curse. Even though everything did tie together in the end, it didn’t make sense for most of the book. I did finish the book wondering what it was supposed to be about. There’s a lot going on, and while I did like the individual pieces, I don’t know that I liked all of them together. I felt like it muddled the overall story to the point that I wasn’t sure what the story was supposed to be about.
I did like the family relationships, and that was something I did like about the book. You don’t really see that in YA, and it was really refreshing to read. It was nice to see how they developed and changed over time but I wish we saw more of it.
Alaine had a really strong voice, and I wish we saw more of it. It did take a backseat to some of the other things we see in the book, and I’m a little sad about that because I felt like it took away from her story.
My Rating: 1 star. I really wish I liked this book more, but it just didn’t work for me. I think it would work great in physical form, but as a digital ARC, it was hard to get through. There were parts of the book I liked, but it wasn’t enough for me to really get into the book.