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Akata Witch
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Akata Witch
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Affectionately dubbed "the Nigerian Harry Potter," Akata Witch weaves together a heart-pounding tale of magic, mystery, and finding one's place in the world.Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but...
Affectionately dubbed "the Nigerian Harry Potter," Akata Witch weaves together a heart-pounding tale of magic, mystery, and finding one's place in the world.Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but...
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Description-

  • Affectionately dubbed "the Nigerian Harry Potter," Akata Witch weaves together a heart-pounding tale of magic, mystery, and finding one's place in the world.

    Twelve-year-old Sunny lives in Nigeria, but she was born American. Her features are African, but she's albino. She's a terrific athlete, but can't go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a "free agent" with latent magical power. Soon she's part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But will it be enough to help them when they are asked to catch a career criminal who knows magic too?

    Ursula K. Le Guin and John Green are Nnedi Okorafor fans. As soon as you start reading Akata Witch, you will be, too!


    From the Hardcover edition.
 

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Excerpts-

  • From the book ***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected copy proof***

    Copyright © 2017 Nnedi Okorafor

    Prologue

    The Candle

    I've always been fascinated by candles. Looking into the flame calms me down. Here in Nigeria, PHC is always taking the lights, so I keep candles in my room just in case.

    PHC stands for "Power Holding Company of Nigeria," but people like to say it really stands for "Please Hold Candles in Nigeria." Back in Chicago we had National Grid, and the electricity was always working. Not here, though. Not yet. Maybe in the future.

    One night, after the power went out, I lit a candle as usual. Then, also as usual, I got down on the floor and just gazed at its flame.

    My candle was white and thick, like the ones in church.

    I lay on my belly and just stared and stared into it. So orange, like the abdomen of a firefly. It was nice and soothing until . . . it started flickering.

    Then, I thought I saw something. Something serious and big and scary. I moved closer.

    The candle just flickered like any other flame. I moved even closer, until the flame was an inch from my eyes. I could see something. I moved closer still. I was almost there. I was just starting to understand what I saw when the flame kissed something above my head. Then the smell hit me and the room was suddenly bright yellow orange! My hair was on fire!

    I screamed and smacked my head as hard as I could. My burning hair singed my hand. Next thing I knew, my mother was there. She tore off her rapa and threw it over my head.

    The electricity suddenly came back on. My brothers ran in, then my father. The room smelled awful. My hair was half gone and my hands were tender.

    That night, my mother cut my hair. Seventy percent of my lovely long hair, gone. But it was what I saw in that candle that stayed with me most. I'd seen the end of the world in its flame. Raging fires, boiling oceans, toppled sky- scrapers, ruptured land, dead and dying people. It was horrible. And it was coming.

    My name is Sunny Nwazue and I confuse people.

    I have two older brothers. Like my parents, my brothers were both born here in Nigeria. Then my family moved to America, where I was born in the city of New York. When I was nine, we returned to Nigeria, near the town of Aba. My parents felt it would be a better place to raise my brothers and me, at least that's what my mom says. We're Igbo—that's an ethnic group from Nigeria—so I'm American and Igbo, I guess. You see why I confuse people? I'm 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.

    Being albino made the sun my enemy; my skin burned so easily that I felt nearly flammable. That's why, though I was really good at soccer, I couldn't join the boys when they played after school. Although they wouldn't have let me anyway, me being a girl. Very narrow-minded. I had to play at night, with my brothers, when they felt like it.

    Of course, this was all before that afternoon with Chichi and Orlu, when everything changed.

    I look back now and see that there were signs of what was to come.

    When I was two, during a brief visit to Nigeria with my family, I contracted malaria. It was a bad case and I almost died from it when I got back to the States. I remember. My brothers used to tell me that I was a freak because I could remember so far back.

    I was really hot,...

Reviews-

  • DOGO Books thumsup - Rick Riordan recommended this book because its roots are in West African mythology; which, to say, it is a new and fresh kind of magic for people who are tired of reading the Harry Potter series and all those books about the same old Greek Mythology that you already know about. I can't wait to read it!
  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 14, 2011
    Okorafor (The Shadow Speaker) returns with another successful tale of African magic. Although 12-year-old Sunny is Nigerian, she was born in America, and her Nigerian classmates see her as an outsider. Worse, she's an albino, an obvious target for bullies and suspected of being a ghost or a witch. Things change, however, when she has a vision of impending nuclear war. Then her classmate Orlu and his friend Chichi turn out to be Leopard People—witches—and insist that she is, too. Soon Sunny discovers her spirit face ("It was her, but it felt as if it had its own separate identity, too. Her spirit face was the sun, all shiny gold and glowing with pointy rays"). Eventually, the three and an American boy named Sasha visit the dangerous, magical city of Leopard Knocks and learn from their mentors in witchcraft that they must destroy Black Hat Otokoto, a monstrous serial killer and powerful witch. Although a bit slow getting started, this tale is filled with marvels and is sure to appeal to teens whose interest in fantasy goes beyond dwarves and fairies. Ages 12–up.

  • Kirkus

    March 15, 2011

    Who can't love a story about a Nigerian-American 12-year-old with albinism who discovers latent magical abilities and saves the world? Sunny lives in Nigeria after spending the first nine years of her life in New York. She can't play soccer with the boys because, as she says, "being albino made the sun my enemy," and she has only enemies at school. When a boy in her class, Orlu, rescues her from a beating, Sunny is drawn in to a magical world she's never known existed. Sunny, it seems, is a Leopard person, one of the magical folk who live in a world mostly populated by ignorant Lambs. Now she spends the day in mundane Lamb school and sneaks out at night to learn magic with her cadre of Leopard friends: a handsome American bad boy, an arrogant girl who is Orlu's childhood friend and Orlu himself. Though Sunny's initiative is thin—she is pushed into most of her choices by her friends and by Leopard adults—the worldbuilding for Leopard society is stellar, packed with details that will enthrall readers bored with the same old magical worlds. Meanwhile, those looking for a touch of the familiar will find it in Sunny's biggest victories, which are entirely non-magical (the detailed dynamism of Sunny's soccer match is more thrilling than her magical world saving). Ebulliently original. (Fantasy. 11-13)

    (COPYRIGHT (2011) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

  • School Library Journal

    June 1, 2011

    Gr 6 Up-This contemporary fantasy features Sunny, 12, Nigerian by blood but born in New York City, who's been living in Nigeria since she was 9. She has West African features but is an albino with yellow hair, white skin, and hazel eyes. This mixture confuses people, and she is teased and bullied by classmates. One day while looking into a candle flame, she sees a vision of the end of the world. She discovers that her classmate Orlu; his friend Chichi; and Sasha, newly arrived from America, all have magical abilities, and they suspect that she does, too. She finds out she's of the Leopard spirit line and has the ability to cross over into the spirit world, become invisible, see the future, and manipulate time. She and her new friends must use their abilities to try to defeat a serial killer who's maiming and killing children to use to awaken a monster from the spirit world. This vividly imagined, original fantasy shows what life is like in today's Nigeria, while it beautifully explores an alternate magical reality. Sunny must deal with cultural stereotypes, a strict father who resents her being female, and older brothers who pick on her because she's better at soccer than they are. This is a consistently surprising, inventive read that will appeal to more thoughtful, patient fantasy readers because it relies less on action and more on exploring the characters' gradual mastery of their talents.-Sharon Rawlins, New Jersey State Library, Trenton

    Copyright 2011 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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