Pet

by Akwaeke Emezi

In the utopian city of Lucille, monsters—people who committed crimes, including... read more

In the utopian city of Lucille, monsters—people who committed crimes, including those whose crimes had gone unpunished—were banished by angels years ago. In Lucille, where religion is a thing of the past, “angels” are people. It was the angels who banned weapons, did the hard work of creating a safe, peaceful community, and saw that justice was served. Jam, a Black, transgender, selectively nonverbal teenager, has grown up without monsters. But when she accidentally drips blood on her mother’s painting of a horned, fur- and feather- covered creature, it comes to frightening, three-dimensional life. Pet, as it wants to be known, announces that it has come to Jam’s world to hunt a monster, a person who has committed an unspeakable crime and has been living, unnoticed, amongst the people of Lucille—living, in fact, in Jam’s best friend’s home. Jam and Pet’s investigation inspires thoughtful discussion of complex questions: What actions should be taken when a “monster” is discovered? Is there such a thing as a “good” or “evil” person? Although at times predictable, this novel brilliantly addresses the unfortunate reality that people tend to look away from difficult or painful truths, even when they are right in front of their eyes. (Age 12 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020

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