Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
12yr old Sunny was born in New York. When she was 9, her parents decided to move the family back to Nigeria. Sunny's parents and two older brothers were all born in Nigeria.
"You see why I confuse people? Nigerian by blood, American by birth, and Nigerian again because I live here. I have West African features, like my mother, but while the rest of my family is dark brown. I've got light yellow hair, skin the color of sour milk, (or so stupid people like to tell me), and hazel eyes that look like God ran out of the right color. I'm albino"
Halfway into Akata Witch, I realized I've read all of Okorafor's novels. I return for many reasons, one being I love the author's main characters. I always want to follow them on their adventure. Sunny had me at the prologue.
When Sunny's hair catches on fire, she has to cut her hair. When Sunny goes to school everyone laughs, including her so called friends. Soon Sunny begins hanging out with Orlu, a boy in her class. Through Orlu, Sunny meets Chichi. Orlu and Chichi are childhood friends with magical abilities. They are known as Leopard people and it runs in their family.(which is normally the case) With the help of Orlu and Chichi, Sunny discover she's a free agent Leopard.
Orlu and Chichi have always been exposed to magic and are already in the early stages of training. Sunny has a lot of catching up to do. 13yr old Sasha from Chicago joins the group. Sasha misused his abilities at home, so his father sent him to Nigeria to keep him out of trouble.
The four are being taught Anatov, one of eight living people in Nigeria to have passed the last level. Sunny must go to these lessons in secret. Sunny's family can't know about her magical abilities. I thought the author did a good job of balancing Sunny's life.
I really liked the foursome and I hope this is the first of many books. Though for now, I would've liked a little more action less training. There's much to like about Akata Witch., including the Oha Coven. "It's a group of mystical combination, set up to defend against something bad"
An Oha Coven is always made up of four people, two boys, two girls and there are a few other elements. When this came up I was instantly intrigued and wish it was explored a bit more. There are a few more things I hope the author expands on in the future, including Sunny's grandmother.
The four are eventually asked to help stop Black Hat, a serial killer targeting children. The Black Hat storyline didn't play out as well as I would've liked. I was underwhelmed by the final confrontation. The strength of this story comes from the four friends, especially Sunny. As well as Leopard Knocks, the main West African headquarters. The author makes it very easy to envision Leopard Knocks.
I couldn't end this without mentioning one of the first things Sunny buys in Leopard Knocks, book. "from fast facts for free agents, by a well known free agent. Before each chapter begins there's an excerpt from the book. I loved these, since it allows the reader to learn more about the Leopard people with Sunny.
Okorafor has written a good foundation. I have my fingers crossed there will be more adventures to come for Sunny and her friends.
Publishers Weekly Review