Cover Image: Bitter

Bitter

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Member Reviews

I enjoyed this quite a lot, though I never read PET, it's definitely on my radar now. The authors writing style was wonderful, and I found myself wrapped up in this story.
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“We are each other’s harvest. We are each other’s magnitude and bond. “
These powerful words from Gwendolyn Brooks are repeated throughout this deeply-moving and emotional story about protest, community, and love. This quote is the central theme of this novel and is evident in the care and empathy that the characters show one another. Even in the face of adversity. Even during crippling anxiety. Even when mistakes are made.  Even when monsters are present. 
Bitter is torn between the safety that she now has and the urgency of protest that her community demands. A chance decision pushes Bitter to the forefront as she grapples with choices and situations that she never thought possible.
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I think this book had a great premise and the plot was good as well. The characters also had a lot of potential. I just wanted a little more from it! It is a shorted book that is good, which I think would have made a longer book that was better. A little more show and don't tell, especially with the character connection. I definitely think if you are looking for a timely dystopian/urban fantasy about the inequalities in our society this is still a pretty good pick! Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review
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A worthy prequel to Emezi's strong foray into YA lit. This book answered questions that I was dying to have answered, and for that I am grateful. Bitter's characterization and motivations were well fleshed out and left me wanting more from the Lucileverse.
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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher I was able to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
***
Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi is a companion novel to Pet. This book was just as amazing and impactful and emotional as Pet was when I read it awhile back. Bitter is the strong impactful story about the importance but also the cost of revolution. 
Bitter is an artist at Eucalyptus, a special school focused on the arts, a safe haven for her after a very turbulent childhood but outside the safety of the school the city is full of injustice and those that fight it. Bitter struggles with the need to stay out of it, keep herself safe while those closest to her are drawn to the revolution happening in the city. Feeling called out and scared Bitter wants to help but can’t see herself in the streets the same way as her friends. This is a story that explores, youth, art, friendship and protest. It was powerful.
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Pet was, of course, an excellent read. I was excited to get back into this world in Bitter, and it didn't disappoint as a follow up to such an excellent predecessor.
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Bitter is a great prequel to Pet. While I did read Pet first, I really think you could read them in either order and it would be a great experience. Both titles feel like parables - and both are pretty in your face about the message they're trying to get across. 

I think Bitter is a little more in your face about it than Pet, and therefore not quite as strong of a novel. While I felt like Pet blurred the lines of MG/YA I think Bitter is pretty solidly YA as it is a little more violent and deals with some more complex ideas. 

I wish there has been a few more pages to wrap up the story. It came together a little too quickly and I have some lingering questions of how we got from the world of Bitter to the world of Pet? Maybe another book is coming! 

Overall, more beautiful writing from Emezi and if you liked Pet you should definitely pick this one up.
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In this companion to their novel , Pet, Emezi writes of how the rebellion of Lucille began. How societal change always comes from young people. How art is intrinsic to all aspects of our life. How achieving true justice is a battle. How sometimes it’s not possible for all people to step up to the battlefront, but we can all fight in our own way, using our own strengths. How sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between who are the monsters and who are the angels.

In other words, Bitter is about life and love and fighting for freedom in any we can. Profound and beautiful. As always.
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Pet is one of my favorite books, and Bitter lives up to the hype I built around its release. This prequel shows us the prices paid by the revolutionaries who labored from a place of love to build something new for the next generations. Bitter is full of love and hurt, social justice history and philosophy, imagination and care. Absolutely gorgeous.
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I went into Pet blind, without knowing anything and going into Bitter was no different for me. After the wild ride that was Pet I didn’t know what to expect from Bitter. I love a prequel to any story. I am a sucker for background knowledge of why things happened! A strong story about fighting racism and social injustice. Akwaeke Emezi always gives the power to the main characters and I love it so much.
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Thank you to Random House Children's, Knopf Books for Young Readers, and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book. 

I loved Akwaeke Emezi's Pet and excitedly requested this prequel as soon as I saw it on NetGalley. This is the story of Jam's mother, Bitter, and how she helped bring about change in the city of Lucille. I enjoyed the beginning of the book, where readers learn about Bitter's early years. We get to meet her best friend and watch her connect with Pet's father, Aloe. The last third of the book lost my interest. It was way more fantasy than I typically like and the ending seemed very abrupt. I'm still glad that I read it because the first 2/3 really did interest me.
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Don't try this one if you aren't prepared for some weirdness. The cast of characters is inclusive but it feels like it's performative. I actually can handle a fair amount of strangeness in a plot - drawings come to life, spirit beings wreaking havoc in the world - if the writing is tight and dynamic. The themes aren't well explored in this novel.
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A big thank you to Netgalley for granting me an advanced copy of "Bitter" by Akwaeke Emezi in exchange for an honest review!

If you read young adult literature in 2019, good chances were that you heard and/or read Akwaeke Emezi's "PET" - a story about a young Black trans girl living in a supposedly idyllic world void of "monsters" - until one appears. Jam's story starts off when she finds an old painting that her mother, Bitter, made as a child and accidentally bleeds on it, releasing an Angel that she names Pet. 
In "BITTER", we get to see how the pre-monster world affected not only Bitter and Jam's future father, Aloe, but also how much pain they work to save Jam from. We also get the backstory in how and why the painting was made, and about the first angels to come through and save Lucille from monstrous men and capitalism. 

This book is a gorgeous sketch of the world of Lucille - however, it feels just like that - something short and not fully fleshed out, with the expectation that we already know key components about the world we are reading of. If you are coming to "BITTER" straight from "PET", then you are set to go. However, if you haven't read "PET" recently, then this prequel will be slightly confusing and full of grandiose worldbuilding that falls flat until you remember key details from "PET". I highly recommend it if you are reading the two titles one after the other.
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This book is an incredible prequel to Pet, which took my community by storm when it was released. It took me a while to remember that this story is not Pet and it's from a very different era than we see in pet. Bitter is a different novel, exploring concepts that are more familiar to our current landscape. However, much like Pet, it's done carefully and methodically. For me this wasn't a book that I could read lightly - it invoked emotions and thoughts that resulted in a really satisfying conclusion. 

I think that this book is a great read for our socially conscious teens, and teens unafraid of a more heavy reading experience.
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What a pairing for Pet! I have seen many reviews for this book praising it's imaginative and proactive nature, and I deeply agree. The exploration of what it means to be powerful, and how to claim power, was done immaculately. I am so excited to hear that there are new books from Emezi coming soon, because their writing is both charming and deeply thought-provoking. I have Pet in my high school library, so I look forward to hopefully adding Bitter as well!
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Bitter was a lovely prequel to the world and dynamic established in Pet. I fell in love with the author’s writing style again and the complex social issues they brought forth in this YA novel. The content is important and moving and necessary for young minds to understand.

I love this author.
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This prequel to Pet is everything I hoped it would be. Emezi does an amazing job of explaining the realities of police brutality, gentrification, capitalism, and protests through the voices of Bitter and her friends. 

In this short novel, we are transported back to Lucille in the middle of a revolution. Jam’s parents Bitter and Aloe meet at a Eucalyptus, a school for misfit queer artists in the middle of the city. I truly enjoyed seeing Bitter learn to open up with her friends and Aloe despite or because of the circumstances they are in. Bitter and Aloe melted my heart!

There were so many gems in this book but I don't want to spoil the book for y'all. Suffice it to say that Emezi pushes us to think about whether we have hope for the future and asks us to imagine what that future could look like. Do we cling to how things have always been, hide away hoping it will be over soon, or do we try to help in the ways that we can? They emphasize the importance of rest as well as understanding that every successful revolution needs more than fighters. It needs caretakers, thinkers, artists, cultivators, and more.

I highly recommend this book to everyone aged 14 and up, whether you're a parent/guardian, a teacher, an organizer, a student, etc. Especially, social workers, activists, community leaders, and artists.
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In this prequel to PET, we meet Bitter, a teenage artist at a boarding school who is trying to find her role in changing the world. It's a thought-provoking expansion of the history of Lucille, and quite different in tone and content from PET. As always, Emezi is masterful with words and can turn everything on its head with a simple turn of phrase. This is a unique contemplation of racism, anger, grief, and finding your voice.
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Bitter is a really sweet middle grade novel that tackles issues of resistance against institutional power, police violence, and social organizing, as well as morality vs. authority. It took me a moment while reading to realize that this was a prequel to Pet, which I really loved on audio. Bitter packed a bit less of a punch, sometimes a little bit too blatant in its discussion on complex topics. It sometimes felt more lesson driven than plot or character driven. I actually felt I understood these characters better because of Pet, but I think this one felt more important because it explains the origins of the set up of the plot for Pet. One thing I really loved was the dialogue in this novel, and the way it was written true to speech. It was liveliest in these schnes, and the emerging romance plotline was super cute. Again, I was a bit bored as an adult reading this but perhaps it is nuanced and considerate for
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Lovely and beautiful and so so important.  I am so glad to see younger books getting more and more inclusive. I wish this was a story that I could have read while still in grade school! Pet was an instant all time favourite, and Bitter lived up to all of my expectations.
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