Reviews for Pet.

by Akwaeke Emezi

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Teenager Jam unwittingly animates her mother's painting, summoning a being through a cross-dimensional portal.When Pet, giant and grotesque, bursts into her life one night, Jam learns it has emerged to hunt and needs the help of a human who can go places it cannot. Through their telekinetic connection, Jam learns that though all the monsters were thought to have been purged by the angels, one still roams the house of her best friend, Redemption, and Jam must uncover it. There's a curious vagueness as to the nature of the banished monsters' crimes, and it takes a few chapters to settle into Emezi's (Freshwater, 2018) YA debut, set in an unspecified American town where people are united under the creed: "We are each other's harvest. We are each other's business. We are each other's magnitude and bond," taken from Gwendolyn Brooks' ode to Paul Robeson. However, their lush imagery and prose coupled with nuanced inclusion of African diasporic languages and peoples creates space for individuals to broadly love and live. Jam's parents strongly affirm and celebrate her trans identity, and Redemption's three parents are dedicated and caring, giving Jam a second, albeit more chaotic, home. Still, Emezi's timely and critical point, "monsters don't look like anything," encourages our steady vigilance to recognize and identify them even in the most idyllic of settings.This soaring novel shoots for the stars and explodes the sky with its bold brilliance. (Fantasy. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Transgender teen Jam has grown up in utopian Lucille, where everyone is accepted and bad things don't exist, with her artist mom and easygoing dad. Jam is selectively mute and communicates mostly by sign language with her family and friend Redemption. But her gentle world changes when she accidentally bleeds onto one of her mother's canvases, and a creature is born out of the blood. The beast, called Pet, informs Jam that he is there to hunt a human monster that exists in Redemption's house. Jam helps Pet identify and capture the monster, and in the process, change idyllic Lucille forever. This work of speculative fiction is a National Book Award finalist and the first to be published in Christopher Myers's new imprint, Make Me a World, and so it seems fitting that Myers himself narrates the book. Myers handles the narration with ease, creating an atmospheric setting. Pet is performed in a deep voice, sometimes quietly, and at other times aggressively with sinister inflections. The more intense parts of the story—when the hunted monster and his crimes are identified—are properly expressed through his faster pacing and increasingly emotional tone. VERDICT This title will have plenty of crossover appeal; younger listeners may respond to the fantasy/horror aspect of the story, while more mature or thoughtful listeners will be drawn to the allegorical aspects of the story, with its themes of good vs. evil, bravery, trust, vengeance, and unconditional acceptance.—Julie Paladino, formerly with East Chapel Hill High School, Chapel Hill, NC


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Carnegie Medal–nominee Emezi (Freshwater for adults) makes their young adult debut in this story of a transgender, selectively nonverbal girl named Jam, and the monster that finds its way into their universe. Jam’s hometown, Lucille, is portrayed as a utopia—a world that is post-bigotry and -violence, where “angels” named after those in religious texts have eradicated “monsters.” But after Jam accidently bleeds onto her artist mother’s painting, the image—a figure with ram’s horns, metallic feathers, and metal claws—pulls itself out of the canvas. Pet, as it tells Jam to call it, has come to her realm to hunt a human monster––one that threatens peace in the home of Jam’s best friend, Redemption. Together, Jam, Pet, and Redemption embark on a quest to discover the crime and vanquish the monster. Jam’s language is alternatingly voiced and signed, the latter conveyed in italic text, and Igbo phrases pepper the family’s loving interactions. Emezi’s direct but tacit story of injustice, unconditional acceptance, and the evil perpetuated by humankind forms a compelling, nuanced tale that fans of speculative horror will quickly devour. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jacqueline Ko, Wylie Agency. (Sept.)


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

The debut title from Christopher Myers' imprint, Make Me a World, tells the story of a girl named Jam who lives in a world without evil or so she's told. In the town of Lucille, monsters were overcome in a long-past revolution, so Jam is more than a little surprised when Pet, a creature her mom paints, comes to life and declares that he has come to hunt a monster and he needs her help. Though a YA novel, this will appeal to readers across age ranges. Younger readers will enjoy the fantastical story line itself, while older readers will be able to look more deeply into its themes and pull out the social commentary on the hidden evils of our world that Emezi creatively weaves into the story. Just like Pet gently encourages Jam to see things unseen, to not be afraid, and to not forget, this book encourages its readers to do the same. Because as Jam notes, Yes, people forget. But forgetting is dangerous. Forgetting is how the monsters come back. --Florence Simmons Copyright 2019 Booklist


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 9 Up—Transgender teen Jam has grown up in utopian Lucille, where everyone is accepted and bad things don't exist, with her artist mom and easygoing dad. Jam is selectively mute and communicates mostly by sign language with her family and friend Redemption. But her gentle world changes when she accidentally bleeds onto one of her mother's canvases, and a creature is born out of the blood. The beast, called Pet, informs Jam that he is there to hunt a human monster that exists in Redemption's house. Jam helps Pet identify and capture the monster, and in the process, change idyllic Lucille forever. This work of speculative fiction is a National Book Award finalist and the first to be published in Christopher Myers's new imprint, Make Me a World, and so it seems fitting that Myers himself narrates the book. He handles the narration with ease, creating an atmospheric setting. Pet is performed in a deep voice, sometimes quietly, and at other times aggressively, with sinister inflections. The more intense parts of the story—when the hunted monster and his crimes are identified—are properly expressed through his faster pacing and increasingly emotional tone.VERDICT Younger listeners may respond to the fantasy/horror aspect of the story, while older, more thoughtful listeners will be drawn to the allegorical aspects of the audio, with its themes of good vs. evil, bravery, trust, vengeance, and unconditional acceptance.—Julie Paladino, formerly with East Chapel Hill High School, Chapel Hill, NC


Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

In a haunting work of speculative fiction incorporating African diaspara cultural markers, adolescent Jam (a transgender hearing person who communicates selectively, using both sign language and vocal speech) lives in a utopian town now free of ‚€˜monsters‚€™ (oppressors and manifestations of evil). When a creature in one of her mother's paintings comes to life, Jam learns that it's hunting a monster--a monster that lives in Jam's best friend's house. The plot moves steadily as Jam investigates the creature's claims, and the story intensifies to a startling climax. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 7 Up—The only world Jam has ever known is that of Lucille, a town where the angels have ostensibly banished the monsters and dismantled the structures that allowed monsters and monstrous deeds to pervade. Lucille is a post-prison, post–school shooting, post–police brutality society. A society where someone like Jam, a selectively mute transgender teen, can live with complete acceptance, support, and love. Still, she can feel the hard truths of the world, can sense them in the air, hear them in words unsaid. When Jam steals into her mother Bitter's painting studio and unleashes Pet, a winged, horned, eyeless creature and monster hunter, from one of the paintings and into their world, life as she's known it begins to dissolve. Jam must confront the harsh realities of her world as she tentatively partners with Pet and ventures forward to avenge a wrong not yet discovered. This is a heart-stirring atmospheric page-turner, a terrific and terrible yet quiet adventure. Emezi spins a tale that defies categorization as strikingly as their characters, forcing readers to deeply rethink assumptions about identity, family structure, and justice. VERDICT A riveting and important read that couldn't be more well timed to our society's struggles with its own monsters.—Jill Heritage Maza, Montclair Kimberley Academy, NJ

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