Cover Image: Dear Haiti, Love Alaine

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

NetGalley ARC Educator 550974

An amazing story of self discovery and love for one's home. It is full of love, friendship and family.
Was this review helpful?
I don't know why it took me so long go to read this book. I just loved it. Alaine is a character, she's funny, real and just an all-around fun person. I mean she knows when she's being too much and she lived forward with conviction. I admire her outlook on life and her never giving up the character. As much as we all know the outcome we want Alaine t9 to be right. 

I loved that the main setting and background are Hatti. It gave us a new outlook and description of Hatti that I appreciated

There was depth, discovery and growth for all characters, I had no idea where the story was going and it was a journey that I appreciated.

A must-read for sure
Was this review helpful?
I very much enjoyed this story. It was wonderfully written. I look forward to the author’s next book!
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book! I loved the epistolary style of it, and the way the authors tied all of the letters and articles and journal entries together to create a compelling story.

Alaine was a really fun protagonist, and I loved her sarcasm and humor. But I also liked that she was willing to admit when she was wrong and admit that she didn't know it all. I really liked her journey into learning more about her family's history and how she learned that there were more secrets than she ever expected.
Was this review helpful?
I LOVE the mixed media of this novel: letters, emails, phone calls, class projects, articles and diary entries. I think it's daring and unique to mix all these media together and weave the narratives together, Alaine is dealing with all the emotions and feelings. She lives with her strictish, yet shrinky dad and sees her mom more as a news anchor than in real life. When her world starts crumbling, Alaine rebels in typical teenage dramatics: she intentionally sabotages a big class project. The repercussions: she is sent off to Haiti to stay with her Aunt (the minister of tourism in Haiti and her mom (who was recovering from a rather scandalous breakdown on live TV where she slaps a politician). While in Haiti, she has a new class assignment and she is slightly more excited about this one as she gets to research her family history. As she works on her project, she uncovers more and more of her family past: her family secrets all are coming out: the romances, the scandal, the intrigue. 

Even though I could predict what was coming, I still thoroughly enjoyed the narrative!
Was this review helpful?
A powerful story that is full of laughter and life's challenges. Alaine's sarcastic humor will make you laugh outloud at times. A great read!
Was this review helpful?
This teen novel written by two sisters is told by Alaine Beauparlant, a senior in high school, whose parents were both born in Haiti. Her father is a psychiatrist and her mother is a television journalist. They've recently separated and Alaine lives in Miami with her dad while her mom works in Washington doing political news. When her mom has an on air meltdown, Alaine must struggle to understand and deal with the reactions from her fellow students at her private school. 
Alaine is also working on a history project for school and she tries to take her project in a different direction than expected and get back at some of the kids teasing her. It backfires and Alaine is exiled to Haiti to stay with her aunt, the Minister of Tourism there, and her mom who has gone to ground while she determines her next steps. 
As Alaine discovers what is behind her mother's actions, and learns more about the country of her parents, she also learns about the family curse that her mother has never shared with her. Alaine's aunt is also involved with a children's charity and Alaine interns there as part of her remote schoolwork. She also gets to know her mother better, as she comes to term with her mother's medical diagnosis.
There is a lot of Haitian history and culture here, and of course food. 
The book is made up of school reports, texts, emails, articles, transcripts, letters, diaries, and other written material that come together to give a bigger picture of Alaine and her world.
I enjoyed learning more about Haiti, and liked the sassy character of Alaine. This book has a little of everything: romance, drama, mysticism, and humour.
Was this review helpful?
My goodness I adored this one! I knew it would be good when I decided to do the audiobook and the lovely Bahni Turpen was the narrator, she is one of my favorites. This was the oldest book I had on my NetGalley list, and it happened to be YA so I decided to read it, and what an unexpected gem it was! I enjoyed the format very much, this is an epistolary style novel told through letters, articles, emails and diary entries, and it was really well done. 

Alaine Beauparlant is a seventeen-year-old Haitian American from Miami and is very close with her aunt Tati, who still lives in Haiti and runs a successful nonprofit. Her parents are divorced, so she is navigating that, and her mother is a successful news anchor, but with that comes a lot of work, meaning not a lot of time for Alaine. So she spends most of her time with her dad and her bff. Then a couple of incidents happen, one involving her mom and one involving her, and she finds herself in Haiti for a couple of months completing what her school is calling a ’spring volunteer immersion project’ at her aunt’s nonprofit. The perks? She has a cute intern she is working with, she is with her aunt in person, and she is learning more about the Haitian culture and her family than she could have ever wanted to know, both good and bad.

I learned so much about the culture of Haiti, the authors were so descriptive in their writing I felt like I was there. I LOVED Alaine, she was a fierce yet stubborn protagonist, but also adorable. It was wonderful going with her on her journey, as she had to deal with some pretty tough things, but I loved the sarcasm she had to help get her through. The book covered a really difficult subject that I can’t go into without it being a spoiler, but I thought it was handled very well.

I can’t say enough good things about YA, or this book, and I absolutely recommend this one. Thank you to NetGalley and Inkyard Press for the egalley to review.
Was this review helpful?
I really loved the Haitian representation, from the culture to the history of it. I think this story of main character goes to a different country, learns about their background and gains an appreciation of it has been done before, but I liked the twists with the family curse and Alaine's mother's condition.
Was this review helpful?
Unfortunately it took me forever to get to this book - due to life - but I’m so glad I finally got to it. 

Alaine messes up big time. In order to not be expelled she goes to Haiti to pararipate in a spring volunteer program. Haiti also happens to be where her parents grew up. I loved learning about Alaine and Haiti and her trials of teenage life.
Was this review helpful?
Just not for me, I didn't finish this one and therefore never got around to reviewing it, apologies for the delay.
Was this review helpful?
This was gorgeous and the voice vibrant and wholly unique. I felt like I could get lost in the pages forever. Highly recommend this one!
Was this review helpful?
When a school presentation goes very wrong, Alaine Beauparlant finds herself suspended, shipped off to Haiti and writing the report of a lifetime.
Was this review helpful?
I wasn't the target audience for this book, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also think Maika and Martiza Moulite are talented writers.
Was this review helpful?
Born and raised in Haiti, I loved this book. Alaine story is so common and the depiction of Haiti in the book was perfect. The food, scenery, everything was accurate.
Was this review helpful?
The quirky tale of Alaine Beauparlant kept me interested, but had so much going on. Between the health issues with her mom, her family's curse, the odd dynamic between her parents, and the scandal at her aunt's company there was so much that it felt like you didn't get a chance to really know many of the characters because so much time was spent on this other events.
Was this review helpful?
This book was a fast read once started and I enjoyed every minute of it and wish I savored it more! This was a strong YA debut and I love that it was written by two sisters. This story tackled some heavy topics but was beautifully written. I loved the snark and it had me chuckling every so often. The Caribbean setting and descriptions has me ready to book my ticket!
Was this review helpful?
ARC provided by the publisher, all opinions my own. Also, clearly, I have taken way to long to read this as it has been out for almost a year.

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine follows Alaine, a Haitian-American high school student in Florida, as she finds herself dealing with being sent to Haiti as a punishment for being suspended from school. The book weaves Haiti’s history in with Alaine’s present, and once she is in Haiti, Alaine must cope with family secrets, the declining health of someone she loves, and perhaps breaking a family curse. 

I have mixed feelings about this book; it has an abundance of strengths, which I will shortly enumerate, but also avoided the full exploration of topics it was so close to in a way that didn’t mesh with me very well. 

Starting with the positives! The writing is wonderful, Maika and Maritza Moulite write together so seamlessly; the character voice is incredibly consistent throughout the book. I did like the humor of the book, Alaine is funny, assertive, and confident in a way that I found refreshing. I would undoubtedly have loved to be friends with Alaine in high school. 

Speaking of high school, I was not super keen on the resolution of the plotline with Alaine’s school friend and other classmates. Mostly because it did not exist. The beginning of the book had almost no bearing on the rest of the book, except it was a launching pad to send Alaine to Haiti. I really just wanted a conversation with Alaine’s Florida best friend, something that resolved the way her friend was unsupportive in school initially or even just an exchange that showed her friend actively supporting Alaine and not just her being a vehicle for the audience to know the rumors going around back in Florida. Another nod to something I found enjoyable is I am also a Florida person, though neither Miami nor the rural bit mentioned in the book, and I really like reading books set in-part near me. 

Part of my conflict over how to feel about the novel is it talks about so many important topics but stops just shy of actually diving super deeply into it. The book is slightly more lighthearted than I would have preferred. The authors repeatedly bring up the poverty of Haiti, and show the audience the tension between a country being reliant on international aid but also being stifled by it in other aspects. But I really wanted them to explore farther the privilege of Alaine’s family. All the exploration of her family’s position seemed rather surface level. There was mention of the sins of Alaine’s grandfather, and a passing conversation about the inherent problem with them having Roseline be a literal slave in their household in her childhood (and Roseline’s character resolution was kinda messed up, basically ‘her life as hard but she is vengeful, so I will just join the family ignorance of her’). I wanted more discussion here. 

I was especially disappointed by the handling of Alaine’s aunt and the app, Patron Pal. When the app is first introduced, it is immediately followed with an excellent analysis of why this kind of charity work is problematic and inherently exploitive. But the narrative ends up just completely forgiving this because it makes the characters feel good to do it, even when the only person on the page that is a benefactor of this app talks about how he feels he is exploiting his children through it in order to be able to send one of them to school. And Alaine’s aunt was the literal head of a company that was founded as a money-laundering scheme and is presented as innocent and unaware of her own involvement in this. She does give information to the authorities or the press to expose this behavior, but I cannot believe that the head of the company could not be complicit in such an action. I was so disappointed that the end of the book had Alaine not seeing the flaws in this exploitation of children and that she wanted to salvage this shady company. 

I really liked the character of Alaine, and she does learn a lesson and grow as a person by the end of the novel, but it really just happens right at the end of the novel. We are following her through her own grieving process as she tried desperately to break the curse on her family to rid her mother of early-onset Alzheimers. I will give a note that I really found this plotline to be handled delicately and truthfully (at least truthfully to my experience with family members with this disease), and I don’t have complaints at all about how this plotline ended. Being that the story is one of acceptance, once Alaine accepts her mother’s fate, the book just kind of has a three-page summary of what’s next for everyone and abruptly ends. It was abrupt and jarring. I wanted to see Alaine process these feelings a little bit more throughout the novel; it would have made my desire for more explanation at the end lessen. 

I liked the way the story structured the magical realism elements—the introduction for people unaware of the literary convention, then the slow introduction of the family curse. I really really liked that the magical realism elements were not used to explain the sicknesses and death at the conclusion of the book (of the death’s in this book, I think the one that happens later in the book is also not addressed enough). 

So those are my complicated feelings on this book. I really liked some elements, the character voice, historical elements, and the writing, and I was put off by the surface level discussion of some of these very important topics. 

I would recommend this to anyone interested in stories of the Haitian diaspora, as well as most late middle schoolers/early high schoolers. The book’s voice is quite young in a way that I think would very much appeal! Not to say older folks should not pick it up as well, I am clearly out of that age bracket, and I did!

I gave this book three stars.
Was this review helpful?
Such a lovely story about the power of sisterhood. Really enjoyed all of the characters. I found it a bit slow, but still very enjoyable.
Was this review helpful?
I really really liked this book. It was honestly like a breath of fresh air for me. I loved our main character because she would tell it like it is, be a little bit sassy but also a huge heart. The family dynamic was one that I really liked learning about because it had all of these intricacies and twists and turns. This book also featured one of my favorite things, a family curse, which just added to my enjoyment of the book overall.
Was this review helpful?