Here is the thing about Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor: it is so good that after I read it I just started telling strangers to read it when I was out at bookstores. I know you might think that, as a librarian, I do that all the time, but the thing is… I don’t, at least not outside the library. At least not for books that are as good as Akata Witch.
I guess I also go out of my way to promote Akata Witch because it might not be a book you’d pick up, if it weren’t for a crazy stranger telling you about it at Barnes & Noble. There’s the title. “Akata Witch? What does that even mean?” Then there’s the fact that there’s no movie tie-in. And there’s not even a love triangle or any hot vampires. Why would you even read it?
Well, guys, read it because it’s so so good. It’s a totally unique magic story.
Akata Witch is about twelve-year-old Sunny Nwazue, a Nigerian-American girl whose family moves back to Nigeria. There not only does she have to deal with culture shock and the problems of people hassling her because she’s an akata–meaning she has albinism–, she also finds out that she has magical powers and she has to learn how to use them, which isn’t easy. And then, of course, she and her three fellow magic students learn that the world is in great danger from a serial killer who and they may be the only ones who can save it. OK, so maybe you’ve read a few other stories about magic kids saving the world, but you haven’t read one quite like Akata Witch. Nnedi Okorafor is so smart and funny. This book is an intense page-turner with super scary and super funny moments. It’s a cool little slice of what life might be like in contemporary Nigeria–not a setting for most fantasy books. (Or… any other fantasy books that I can think of.)
I am serious! Read this book before I shove it in your face at Barnes & Noble!
Reviewed by: Teen librarian Renata
Recommended for: Literally anyone; read it before I shove it in your face. Especially people who like smart fantasy and being a little bit scared.