Dear Haiti, Love Alaine (Book Review)

It feels like forever since I did one of these book reviews. I’ve been reading a ton for my classes, I just haven’t written any reviews for those stories. But you didn’t come here to hear excuses, you came for a review and a review is what I’ll give you! *laughs maniacally*

This Haitian sister duo has restored my faith in Haitian authors everywhere. As if I could ever lose hope with Edwidge Danticat’s writing still out there.

The Good

I loved Alaine! I saw so much of myself in her and it was great to have that cultural element as part of the connection. It was such a great representation of what it feels like to be Haitian-American.

The story itself is so engaging. I found myself really caught into it when I had the time to read. It was always hard to put down. When I picked it back up over Spring Break, it was like I’d never left.

The plot moves at a really nice pace. It didn’t feel like things were dragging or moving too quickly. When you’re reading it, make sure to pay attention to the details. The story is really thought out and I love that.

The Not So Good

There was mention of voodoo but I feel like it was handled a lot better for my personal tastes than American Street. Other than that, I can’t think of anything I had an issue with.

Personal Sidenote

This was the first YA story I’ve read by Haitian authors that I’ve actually enjoyed. And y’all, I’ve been trying.

I come from the kind of Haitian background where you’re taught that voodoo is from the devil and that’s that. Haitian stories with a heavy focus on voodoo honestly make me uncomfortable, which is why I personally had issues with American Street.

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine tackles Haitian mysticism in a really interesting way. It shows both the good and bad, while emphasizing how those lines can blur. It was a plot tool but it didn’t feel like the main focus of the story and I really liked how that was dealt with.

Again, that’s something that has to do with my own personal experience as a Haitian American and that’s why representation matters so much. Stories like this make me feel seen.

Have you read Dear Haiti, Love Alaine?

Is it on your TBR?

What is your cultural background?

Let me know in the comments below, let’s chat!


Author: Rachelle Saint Louis

Rachelle Saint Louis is a Haitian-American writer, born and raised in South Florida. She received a 2018 Silver Medal in the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition for her poem “Red Blood Cell.” She is currently a Psychology and English double major at Florida Atlantic University. Her poetry has been published in Rigorous Magazine. Rachelle has been writing poetry since the 7th grade and you can often find her performing Spoken Word at local open mics.

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