Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
by Maika Moulite; Maritza Moulite
Pub Date 03 Sep 2019
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You might ask the obvious question: What do I, a seventeen-year-old Haitian American from Miami with way too little life experience, have to say about anything?
Actually, a lot.
Thanks to “the incident” (don’t ask), I’m spending the next two months doing what my school is calling a “spring volunteer immersion project.” It’s definitely no vacation. I’m toiling away under the ever-watchful eyes of Tati Estelle at her new nonprofit. And my lean-in queen of a mother is even here to make sure I do things right. Or she might just be lying low to dodge the media sharks after a much more public incident of her own…and to hide a rather devastating secret.
All things considered, there are some pretty nice perks…like flirting with Tati’s distractingly cute intern, getting actual face time with my mom and experiencing Haiti for the first time. I’m even exploring my family’s history—which happens to be loaded with betrayals, superstitions and possibly even a family curse.
You know, typical drama. But it’s nothing I can’t handle.
“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 features a Haitian American, her immigrant family, and the land of her heritage at the fore.”
—Booklist, starred review
"An alternately funny and bittersweet story of loss, regret, love, and sacrifice... Seamlessly 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."-Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A refreshing and balanced view of Haiti through the eyes of Alaine, a remarkable, funny, and whip-smart young Haitian-American coming to terms with both herself and her heritage. Dear Haiti, Love Alaine is, at its heart, also an American story--necessary, hopeful, and enlightening."
—Ibi Zoboi, author of American Street, National Book Award Finalist
“An enchanting and engrossing novel full of wit and laughter along with a tantalizing generational mystery. Elaine Beauparlant is that rare character who feels like your complicated but indispensable friend, one you wish you could stay in touch with and hear more fascinating and absorbing stories from long after finishing the book.”
—Edwidge Danticat author of Breath, Eyes, Memory
“The Moulite sisters’ stunning debut made me fall in love with Haiti and its people. Heroine Alaine’s charming, warm and insightful voice delivered the story I needed as a kid. It was pure black girl magic!”
–Dana L. Davis, author of The Voice in My Head
“Nothing short of extraordinarily loving. The novel portrays Haiti, too often reduced to grim images of poverty and human suffering in modern fiction, as a challenging and beautiful nation of proud and shining souls.”
—Ben Philippe, author of The Field Guide to the North American Teenager
“I fell in love with Alaine from page one. She's funny, she's creative, she's witty, yet she's also growing up and hiding behind her snark and I found her so relatable … I wanted to savor this book because I didn't want it to end.”
—Sarah Bean Thompson, Youth Services Manager, The Library Center
"You’ll fall in love with Alaine’s humor and heart in this moving story of forgiveness, family and finding yourself."
—Kelly deVos, author of Fat Girl on a Plane
“The Moulites weave Haitian history into a magical narrative, while encouraging readers to look deeper into the contemporary media images and Haitian narratives commonly held today. I fell in love with Alaine and her spunky approach to discovering her family's heritage and getting to know her parents in an authentic way. I especially loved the supernatural twists seamlessly infused into the fantastical tale of Haiti’s origin story. It made me want to discover my own roots.”
—Irene Kistler, School Librarian (ret), Alamo Heights High School