Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
I can’t believe it took me so long to read Nnedi Okorafor! I can see why everyone raves about her whenever talking about diverse SFF done right.
Akata Witch is about a twelve-year old girl named Sunny, who discovers she has magical powers and can see the future reflected in a candle’s flickering flames. Sunny has always felt different from other kids–she has albinism and because of this has been ostracized her whole life. But when Orlu, a boy from her school, introduces her to a whole new world of magic, she makes new friends and discovers her own powers all while trying to take down a serial killer terrorizing the children of her city.
While this book contains a lot of familiar fantasy elements–especially for Harry Potter fans–because the setting and world-building are so unique, the book still felt very fresh and exciting. (Spells that require a knife instead of a wand?!? So awesome.) My biggest issue was with the pacing, which didn’t build smoothly to the climax, but rather moved in fits and starts. You very much get sucked in to the main character and her world, but not so much the overall plot.
Definitely recommended for older MG/young YA readers who want a brand new fantasy world to read about. I’m going to have to check out her books for adults!