Hey y’all! So it’s no secret that Dear Haiti, Love Alaine has been one of my favorite books this year. I’ve been trying to find more Haitian authors who write YA Contemporary and this one really hit the sweat spot. I’m taking part in Sammie’s Tour the World in 30 Books Blog Tour as a way of getting new books for her community’s library, and this is my contribution. I absolutely love this tour and I’m so happy that a whole new group of kids will have this book in hands reach soon enough.
Now, here’s how Dear Haiti, Love Alaine stole a piece of my heart.
1. Alaine is Haitian-American
Okay, this is probably beyond obvious but come on now. As a Haitian American girl, I never saw my culture represented in books growing up. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading stories about Black girls living their best life but there’s truly nothing like seeing references to your specific culture on the page. Every time our food is mentioned or Creole is spoken it just makes my heart so happy.
Alaine happens to live in Florida (we’re practically neighbors) and she’s pretty affluent. I personally fall more under middle class and it’s really nice seeing a main character who’s first thought isn’t about her financial struggles. Those characters are definitely important, but I could relate to her a lot more in that respect than a lot of other characters I’ve read before.
2. The story takes place IN Haiti
Yes, these are two separate points because they are two important points. During the story, Alaine literally gets sent to Haiti. I don’t know about you, but I remember getting in trouble (like two times) as a kid and my mom and grandma threatened to send me to Haiti. It’s a pretty common threat in Haitian households and seeing a character actually get sent there was so funny.
This also happens to be Alaine’s first time in Haiti. I actually went to Haiti for the first time last year so reading this story felt extra special because she described places that I’d seen or that my grandmother had told me about. She’s from a different side of the island from me (my family’s from Saint Marc and Alaine’s is more in the Okap region) but I could still see it all. I went to Labadee when I first visited so I definitely had that memory to go off of.
3. The family dynamics were really well done
I’m sure I’ve said it before but I absolutely love family dynamics in books. My family (like many Haitians) is pretty tight knit but also really big. I have cousins of cousins who my mom will mention and I’ll just look at her like, “Who?”
During her time in Haiti, Alaine is introduced to a bunch of family members. Some of who’s names she’d heard in passing, while others were ones she didn’t even know existed. It definitely reminded me of my own visit to Haiti.
We also get to see how Alaine interacts with her immediate family, particularly her mom and aunt. It was really nice seeing how them together and seeing how their relationships with one another evolved over the course of the novel.
4. The character development is on point
Alaine starts off the story pretty much in her own world. She’s a revolutionary at heart, but she basically wants things to be done her way. She may even come off as a know-it-all at first, but we really get to see her develop as a person as the story goes on.
Through this “volunteer project” she starts learning a lot more about her family history and her culture. She learns about how life isn’t as simple as it seems and that curses aren’t the only complications in life. We also see her become a lot more empathetic as the story progresses and I think that’s done really well here.
5. There’s a cute mini romance
And if none of that sold you, there’s a super cute romance. It’s not the main plot but it adds to the story in a really nice way. I kind of have a crush on him too so…
Here are some places you can use to donate directly. They only need 8 more books!
(If you order something from the Book Shop wishlist, please DM @srbetler on Twitter or email email@example.com, because I don’t believe that site automatically removes books from the wish list.)
Need more ideas? The library has a general Amazon wish list with suggestions, too.
Donations are used at the discretion of the library.
LOOKING FOR MORE DIVERSE BOOKISH GOODNESS? CHECK OUT THE FULL TOUR THE WORLD IN 30 BOOKS SCHEDULE BELOW.
✦ September 8 ✦
Bec @ bec&books – Lobizona
Jorie @ Jorie Loves A Story – Top Ten Diverse Stories Jorie Felt Deeply Connected To Whilst Reading
✦ September 12 ✦
Jacob @ The Writer’s Alley – Forest of Souls
✦ September 15 ✦
Melissa @ Ramblings of a Jedi Librarian – Girl in Translation
✦ September 16 ✦
Livy @ Shelves of Starlight – Clap When You Land
✦ September 17 ✦
Crystal @ Lost in Storyland – American Born Chinese
✦ September 18 ✦
Lili @ Lili’s Blissful Pages – A Wish in the Dark
✦ September 19 ✦
Leslie @ Books Are The New Black – The Poppy War
✦ September 20 ✦
Noura @ The Perks of Being Noura – Love From A to Z
✦ September 21 ✦
Crini @ Crini’s – A Pale Light in the Black
✦ September 22 ✦
Rachelle @ Rae’s Reads and Reviews – Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
✦ September 23 ✦
Dini @ DiniPandaReads – Wicked As You Wish
✦ September 24 ✦
Madeline @ Mad’s Books – Spin the Dawn
✦ September 25 ✦
Tessa @ Narratess – Brace Yourself
✦ September 26 ✦
Kimberly @ My Bookish Bliss – Truly Madly Royally
✦ September 27 ✦
Rena @ Bookflirting 101 – Anna K: A Love Story
✦ September 28 ✦
Susan @ Novel Lives – Burn the Dark
✦ September 29 ✦
Arina @ The Bookwyrm’s Guide to the Galaxy – A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
✦ September 30 ✦
Maya @ Awesome Reads – Jackpot