Pet by Akwaeke Emezi. Make Me a World, 2019. 9780525647072
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
What did you like about the book? In a post-Me Too setting, the people of Lucille feel comfortable that all monsters have been have been found and removed. Angels, in the guise of everyday citizens who worked hard for justice, are the rule. When Jam’s mother’s artwork produces what seems like a monster, she and her family are frightened. But Pet is not a monster, but rather a creature who has come to hunt a real monster in their midst. Jam has to face the hard job of aiding in the search for this monster who is masquerading as an Angel. What’s worse is that the monster is said to lurk in her best friend Redemption’s house. This story is almost allegorical, with a beast whose purpose is to ferret out those who do harm. Prose is simple, lyrical and direct, with a smattering of argot, and the setting is a warm utopic community of black people, including Jam, who is a trans girl. I think readers will quickly understand that the monster is not a mythical being, but rather a human who transgressed the mores of this very humane community. It’s interesting that even in this utopia, people have a hard time accepting that someone they know is an abuser.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? For readers who enjoy social justice fantasy, especially including LGBTQ characters, ages 13 and up.
Who should buy this book? Middle school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Teen fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: January 6, 2010