During my recent morning walks, I’ve been trying out more audiobooks instead of the usual podcasts. Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor was one that appeared on my recommended list (which then reminded me that I also have the hardback copy sitting on my to-read shelf for a while, oops) and is narrated by Yetide Badaki. I haven’t quite finished it yet, but it’s definitely hard to put down. The world-building and magic, rooted in mythology, is fantastic.
Twelve-year old Sunny feels like she just doesn’t belong anywhere, living between two worlds. She was born in New York City, but moved to Aba, Nigeria with her parents and brothers when she was nine. All Sunny wants to do is to go to school, play soccer (where she would excel on the field if given the chance), and laugh with friends. However, she’s constantly bullied by her classmates, her brothers, and even her father. The boys at school won’t let her play soccer with them. Even if they would, her albinism causes her skin to be far too sensitive to be out in the sun, as well as more bullying. But Sunny never backs down, she’s a strong and intelligent character.
One night, during a blackout, she sees a nightmarish vision in candlelight. Shortly after, she meets Orlu and Chichi, and her odd life starts to make a little more sense. She has strong magical abilities which she begins to study as a new member of the ancient Leopard People society. The wonderful magical world opens up to Sunny, as she learns to turn her weaknesses into her greatest strengths while keeping it all secret from the rest of her family. She and her new friends quickly learn how dangerous this world and their training can be as they’re set to stop a dangerous killer before Sunny’s vision can come true.
Okorafor, Nnedi. Akata Witch. Penguin Group, 2011.