Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite
September 3, 2019
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About Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
Co-written by sisters Maika and Maritza Moulite, and told in epistolary style through letters, articles, emails, and diary entries, this exceptional debut novel captures a sparkling new voice and irrepressible heroine in a celebration of storytelling sure to thrill fans of Nicola Yoon, Ibi Zoboi and Jenna Evans Welch!
When a school presentation goes very wrong, Alaine Beauparlant finds herself suspended, shipped off to Haiti and writing the report of a lifetime…
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.
For me, DEAR HAITI, LOVE ALAINE had two incredibly powerful parts: the first is the relationships between characters. The second is the description of Alaine’s time in Haiti.
Alaine has complex relationships with pretty much everyone. Haha. She’s a bit prickly and probably too smart for her own good, and that makes being close to her a complicated thing. She feels estranged from her mom, and that pain totally comes across in the story. The helplessness she feels and the frustration were heartbreaking.
On a lighter note, I love Alaine’s sense of humor (not going to lie– even the school project gone wrong made me laugh) and her quirky way of relating things. She made the story really fun to read.
The landscape of Haiti is beautifully described, but that isn’t even the whole of it. There’s really something magical in the way the Moulite sisters write about Haiti and what it’s like for Alaine to be there.
I guess the family curse surprised me a little bit in that I didn’t realize until maybe the second half of the book that the curse was going to be such a huge part of the story. It felt like a bit of a hard left turn to me, if that makes sense.
Still, I think the authors tied all the threads of the story together nicely, and stayed away from some of the predictable tropes. I enjoyed reading DEAR HAITI, LOVE ALAINE, and I think readers who enjoy books about narrators making a first visit to a homeland, like THE CAT KING OF HAVANA by Tom Crosshill would enjoy this book.
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
Most characters are Haitian. Much of the story takes place in Haiti.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Strong profanity used infrequently.
Kissing between boy and girl.
Alaine’s family member believe her family is under a curse which can only be broken through some spiritual rituals.
A woman slaps a man.
A girl drinks a hallucinogenic drink as part of a ritual.
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