A must read for those who are nostalgic for the time period of the 1960s and 70s and the music, vibes, colors, and history of Civil Rights activism. If you’re a fan of African narratives of immigration during this fascinating period in history, then Aquarian Dawn needs to be added to your . . . cart ASAP!” —Brittle Paper
“This character-driven volume tackles themes such as abandonment, belonging, loss, and racism via a complexly written protagonist whose charismatic personality invests readers from the very first page.” —Publishers Weekly
“Chizea offers YA fiction a provocative maturity and thoughtful nuance that reads like Zadie Smith or Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie but nonetheless provides an undoubted and necessary perspective specifically for young audiences.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Fusing war, politics, love, and confusion in a touching exploration of young womanhood on the brink of national changes, Aquarian Dawn is a memorable novel.” —Foreword Reviews
“Ada’s story, every twist and turn, is worth the trip.” —Kirkus Reviews
“As soon as one starts reading Aquarian Dawn you are captivated by Ebele's powerful use of language and literary skills and descriptive language. This book is a gem in so many ways as not only is the storyline and Ada, the protagonist, so captivating but the illustrative language is so engaging! A must read!”—Naomi Isted, Award-Winning TV Host; Editor-in-Chief Ultimate Lifestylist
“A dazzling debut novel by a dazzling writer whose storytelling shines as bright and liquid as the African sun. Aquarian Dawn and its radiant protagonist Ada Ekene are a gift to the planet with heartfelt observation, sparkling beauty and insight into the perils and promise of growing up, breaking loose, and coming home.” —Lynn Lipinski, author, Bloodlines, God of the Internet, Serpent Loop
“Aquarian Dawn is a breathtaking, soulful, and timeless literary masterpiece that will engulf readers in a tsunami of emotions. It will be difficult for us not to see reflections of ourselves in Ada Ekene. Haven’t we all witnessed a dramatic change in the trajectory of our lives at some point? Haven’t we all stumbled upon truths that shook us to our core or attempted to run away from our destiny? Through her debut novel, Aquarian Dawn, Ms. Ebele Chizea –our Griot – presents each of us with a beautiful and powerful story. At the same, Ms. Chizea, in the tradition of Griots from times past, employs words as her instrument—through Aquarian Dawn—to offer us profound life lessons about listening to our soul’s voice, the transcendency of love, embracing our destiny, and the wisdom in unmasking the past.” —Diane Aisha Sears, Managing Editor, In Search of Fatherhood
Fifteen-year-old Ada Ekene leaves her home of Nabuka, a fictional country in West Africa, to start a new life with her mother in Pennsylvania.
Ada isn’t excited about this new life. Even though her home country is on the brink of civil war, she misses the warmth and attention of her great-aunt and stepfather, so different from her chilly interactions with her mother. At school, Ada meets Sal and Stacey, who are sporadically intertwined in her story as the book guides readers through Ada’s first-person perspective, from being a teenager exploring love and drugs right through to her blossoming as a college poet writing fiercely about the war in Nabuka. Back home, Ada was accused of being an ogbanje, or reincarnated spirit child. She straddles two worlds, with one foot in this plane and the other in a place where she sees spirits. The mystical aspects of this identity are not as fully explored as other internal conflicts, making it difficult to follow that element of her journey. Relationships that seem critical for understanding the person Ada is growing into, like the one with her mother, are underdeveloped, and plotlines, like her search for her paternal and maternal extended families, are introduced but dropped with little resolution. Still, readers will find Ada’s story, every twist and turn, is worth the trip.
A sometimes-meandering narrative journey with a magnetic main character. (Fiction. 14-18)