Born in the US but living in Nigeria, Sunny struggles with feeling like she doesn’t belong. Not only does she speak differently and have a much different set of experiences than her classmates in Nigeria, she is also albino which makes her stand out even more among her classmates. With her yellow hair and creamy skin that burns at the smallest exposure to the sun, she cannot play soccer with the other kids when they play after school even though she is really quite a good athelete.
If all that isn’t enough there is one more thing that keeps Sunny feeling like she is different. One evening while staring into the flame of a candle, Sunny had a terrifying vision of a coming apocalyptic event that would destroy all that she knew. It scared her deeply but somehow she could never tell anyone and the secret created its own special barrier between her and those around her. As time went on however, the memory of the vision faded somewhat and she began to make friends with the Orlu, a boy in her neighborhood and Chichi, the girl who lives next door. She soon learns that Orlu has a special talent for “undoing bad things,” that Chichi and her mom seem to have an inexhaustible supply of books but almost nothing else in their small cramped home, and that both Orlu and Chichi believe in juju, or everyday magic, in ways that she and her parents do not.
Then one Saturday, Orlu and Chichi invite her to come with them to visit a man named Anatov. What happens there changes everything for Sunny and she learns that she belongs in ways that she never knew were possible.
Okorafor has created a wonderful, magical, mysterious, suspense filled coming of age story, that although somewhat reminiscent of Harry Potter, is unique and powerful in its own right. Sunny is a charming, intelligent and irreverent teenager and her interactions with Orlu and Chichi ring with authenticity. Although this is labeled a YA novel, I found this book fascinating and strangely compelling and look forward to reading the rest of the books in this wonderful series. I highly recommend it to anyone, like me, who has younger family members who might be reading it now or will read it in the near future!
Brenda’s Rating: ****(4 out of 5 Stars)
Recommend this book to: Sharon, Marian, Lauren and Ken
Book Study Worthy? Yes
Read in ebook format!