Dear Haiti, love Alaine

Maika Moulite

Book - 2019

After an incident at school, seventeen year-old Alaine is spending spring break in a "volunteer immersion project", toiling away under the ever-watchful eyes of Tati Estelle and her eagle-eyed mother at a new nonprofit in Haiti. Although it is meant as punishment, Alaine is still able to flirt with Tati's distractingly cute intern, get some actual face time with her mom and experience her family's history in Haiti for the first time.

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Subjects
Genres
Novels
Published
Toronto, Canada : Inkyard Press [2019]
Language
English
Physical Description
422 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781335777096
1335777091
Main Author
Maika Moulite (author)
Other Authors
Maritza Moulite (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Sisters Maika and Maritza Moulite deliver a phenomenal coming-of-age story with this stunning novel. The reader is treated to a contemporary story lightly threaded with superstition that refreshingly veers away from the traditional white, Western gaze and places a Haitian American, her immigrant family, and the land of her heritage at the fore. Alaine Beauparlant is a high-school journalist who gets suspended from her private school after a prank goes wrong. She travels to Haiti, a world away from her ritzy private school, to spend her suspension at her family's estate, where her aunt and distant mother await her. Alaine's punishment is to work for her aunt's charity that provides help to Haitian children in need. During her time in Haiti, Alaine's life is transformed as she unearths family histories and secrets that allow her to get to know the ailing mother, who has been absent from a large part of her life. The authors deliver a smart and witty protagonist in Alaine, who endearingly uses humor to make the unsettling situations in which she finds herself a bit more bearable. Additionally, the setting takes on a life of its own, plunging readers into Haiti's rich cultural traditions, breathtaking landscape, and vibrant people alongside Alaine, who will quickly become a beloved character among teens. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Alaine Beauparlant, 17, is the ambitious, impulsive, and highly opinionated first-generation Haitian-American daughter of divorced parents. Months shy of high school graduation, her future plans hit turbulence after an incident involving her political journalist mother and an overfamiliar politician. Following a poorly executed plot to defend her mother's honor against judgmental schoolmates at her private school, Alaine is suspended and sent to Haiti to volunteer with a charity app created by her aunt, the Haitian Minister of Tourism. There, Alaine comes face-to-face with family secrets—and curses—she's never known. Written as a series of intimate personal letters and emotional diary entries from Alaine, her mother, and her female ancestors, the Moulite sisters' well-conceived debut is an alternately funny and bittersweet story of loss, regret, love, and sacrifice, centered on the fictional female descendants of real-life Haitian queen Marie-Louise Coidavid. Seam- lessly blending story lines and allusions to Haiti's history and culture, the authors create an indelible, believable character in Alaine—naive, dynamic, and brutally honest—who stretches and grows as her remarkable, affectingly rendered family relationships do. Ages 13–up. Agent: JL Stermer, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Sept.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 7 Up—Catholic school senior Alaine, an independent and sometimes even iconoclastic student with a reputation for shaking up the nuns, has grown up close with her Tati Estelle, her mother's twin in Haiti, through email. Alaine resents the long distance relationship with her famous television journalist mother, Celeste. After her parents divorced, Alaine stayed in Miami with her psychiatrist father, also a Haitian transplant. For a class assignment, Alaine delves into Haiti's revolutionary history to produce a shocking presentation with disastrous results. In place of suspension, she takes an internship in Haiti with Patron Pal, her aunt's non-profit app to benefit the country's economically challenged kids. The bonus is spending time with her jet-setting mother, also forced to take a time out after an on-air humiliation and health scare. Alaine sees the privilege of her wealthy family in Haiti, descendants of its founders, and the disturbing poverty of others as she tries to understand her relationship with her mother, her family's belief in a revenge curse that brings them misfortune, and how immigrants never completely leave their countries of origin behind. The novel, told in multiple formats, includes postcards, diary entries, texts, tweets, diagrams, lists, and more to capture's Alaine's coming of age. The sisters Moulite have realistically created in Alaine an energetic, smart first-generation teen in a quest to understand herself via family. VERDICT A strong offering mixing a romance, mystery, and adventure in a Caribbean travelogue.—Suzanne Gordon, Lanier High School, Sugar Hill, GA Copyright 2019 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Told in epistolary style through letters, articles, emails and diary entries, a debut novel by sister authors follows the experiences of a Haitian American teen who is sent to work in a Haitian nonprofit, where she learns about local culture and her family heritage. 100,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

“I couldn’t put Dear Haiti, Love Alaine down!” —New York Times bestselling author Jasmine GuilloryCo-written by sisters Maika and Maritza Moulite, this exceptional debut novel captures a sparkling new voice and irrepressible heroine in a story sure to thrill fans of Nicola Yoon and Ibi Zoboi!Alaine Beauparlant has heard about Haiti all her life…But the stories were always passed down from her dad—and her mom, when she wasn’t too busy with her high-profile newscaster gig. But when Alaine’s life goes a bit sideways, it’s time to finally visit Haiti herself.What she learns about Haiti’s proud history as the world’s first black republic (with its even prouder people) is one thing, but what she learns about her own family is another. Suddenly, the secrets Alaine’s mom has been keeping, including a family curse that has spanned generations, can no longer be avoided.It’s a lot to handle, without even mentioning that Alaine is also working for her aunt’s nonprofit, which sends underprivileged kids to school and boasts one annoyingly charming intern.But if anyone can do it all…it’s Alaine.“Delightful.” —Essence magazine"Stunning.” —Booklist (starred review)Also by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite:One of the Good Ones