Book review · novel

Pet, by Akwaeke Emezi

There are no monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with this lesson all their life. But when Jam meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother’s paintings and a drop of Jam’s blood, she must reconsider what she’s been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster—and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption’s house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also uncover the truth, and the answer to the question—How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist? (from the author’s website)

Pet is a short but very powerful young adult novel aimed at younger teens.
I was chilled by the horror lurking below the careful words in this beautiful book. That story is necessary and I definitely agree with the author’s note that this should be read by as many people as possible.

A young black transgender teen girl is living in a city without monsters anymore, some sort of utopia where abusers of ALL kinds have been vanquished years ago by angels. Except… when a mysterious creature enters her life and tells her there is a monster once more, she has to act.

I really loved the main character’s family, how she was cared for and cherished. I liked how her difficulty to communicate vocally most of the time was respected by them, her bestfriend and people around her. The friendship with her bestfriend was also a very beautiful thing in this story, they are here for each others no matter what. It was refreshing, especially since m/f frienship in YA novels are not common enough.
The book felt real, like only an ownvoices tale could be, with black communities and slice of life, as well as trans experience.

It was a very important story about the importance of remembering how abusers work and how thinking “the fight is over” is unfortunately rarely true.


Content warning: rape implied, abuse and physical + emotional violence implied.

6 thoughts on “Pet, by Akwaeke Emezi

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