Akata Witch, by Nnedi Okorafor

From Goodreads: Born in New York, but living in Aba, Nigeria, twelve-year old Sunny is understandably a little lost. She is albino and thus, incredibly sensitive to the sun. All Sunny wants to do is be able to play football and get through another day of school without being bullied. But once she befriends Orlu and Chichi, Sunny is plunged in to the world of the Leopard People, where your worst defect becomes your greatest asset. Together, Sunny, Orlu, Chichi and Sasha form the youngest ever Oha Coven. Their mission is to track down Black Hat Otokoto, the man responsible for kidnapping and maiming children. Will Sunny be able to overcome the killer with powers stronger than her own, or will the future she saw in the flames become reality?

So imagine a setup similar to Harry Potter, where a character knows nothing about the magical world and is suddenly thrust into it and discovers she holds a unique position within that world. Now set that story in Nigeria with a non-Western magical system, and that’s loosely the setup of this book. Not to in any way say it’s a copy of Harry Potter. Not at all. It just plays on the same initial trope, then takes the book in a completely different direction. A completely awesome direction.

I don’t read a lot of middle-grade books, because too often they feel like the author talks down to the reader. My friend Stephanie recommended this one, though, so I went ahead and picked it up when I saw it on my library’s shelves. The author doesn’t talk down in this one. She strikes the perfect balance between young and universal. Sunny and her friends are well-developed, the story well-paced and ended, and the world-building just opened enough to leave room for many more books to follow. I quite enjoyed it and look forward to the next volume in the series!

About Amanda

Agender empty-nester filling my time with cats, books, fitness, and photography. She/they.
This entry was posted in 2019, Children's, Prose and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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