Thursday, 1 April 2021

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine

Finished March 30
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

This teen novel written by two sisters is told by Alaine Beauparlant, a senior in high school, whose parents were both born in Haiti. Her father is a psychiatrist and her mother is a television journalist. They've recently separated and Alaine lives in Miami with her dad while her mom works in Washington doing political news. When her mom has an on air meltdown, Alaine must struggle to understand and deal with the reactions from her fellow students at her private school. 
Alaine is also working on a history project for school and she tries to take her project in a different direction than expected and get back at some of the kids teasing her. It backfires and Alaine is exiled to Haiti to stay with her aunt, the Minister of Tourism there, and her mom who has gone to ground while she determines her next steps. 
As Alaine discovers what is behind her mother's actions, and learns more about the country of her parents, she also learns about the family curse that her mother has never shared with her. Alaine's aunt is also involved with a children's charity and Alaine interns there as part of her remote schoolwork. She also gets to know her mother better, as she comes to term with her mother's medical diagnosis.
There is a lot of Haitian history and culture here, and of course food. 
The book is made up of school reports, texts, emails, articles, transcripts, letters, diaries, and other written material that come together to give a bigger picture of Alaine and her world.
I enjoyed learning more about Haiti, and liked the sassy character of Alaine. This book has a little of everything: romance, drama, mysticism, and humour. 

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