Thursday, February 23, 2012

Late-Developer Magic: Akata Witch

Akata WitchSunny has been an outsider for a long time. Her family is Nigerian, but she was born in New York and moved back with her family at just old enough to have a foreign accent.  She's the youngest kid in her class, and gets annoyingly good marks.  Her father only likes his sons. She's an albino in a black family, and with her accent she's frequently mistaken for white.  So at least when she stumbles into the magic side of society, she's used to being the only one who doesn't have inside information.  Everyone else has grown up with these rules and knowledge, and rarely does anyone give her extra time or help in dealing with the world.

Nnedi Okorafor's Akata Witch is an engaging story of a girl who discovers (like Harry Potter) that she can do magic, and she goes off to learn with her new magic friends.  This isn't a boarding school story, so she only goes for occasional lessons, but she gets to go on special field trips and play sports (magic is cheating, though) and be a part of an important peer group that saves the world.  I liked that four kids made up a special magic group -- in fact, the first suspicion that they may be the chosen ones comes when they notice that they make up a balanced set -- two boys, two girls.  Two Americans, two Nigerians.  Although Sunny is the main character, all four kids have very distinct personalities, strengths and weaknesses.  The personal nature of the danger worked for me; from the beginning parents have worried about the killer, and slowly we learn that the problem is even grimmer than any adult can imagine.  I'll give this book to X to try, and keep an eye out for any more.

P.S. The library claimed the book back before X could try it.  Too bad.

1 comment:

Alex said...

This sounds like a really fun book and I am going to look for it at the library. I tend to like outsider stories, and this seems to fit the bill.