This was the first book on my summer must-read list, so it’s not surprising it’s the first one I’ve finished. I am a very big fan of Akwaeke Emezi’s work, and they are one of the few authors (the only right now?) where I actually follow through on my plans to reread their work. I’ve come to expect beautiful prose, gorgeously developed characters, and to being personally stretched and challenged in unexpected ways.
What I love about this book: it is the most brilliant blend of fantasy and realism. The fantasy is big and fun, with beautiful, interesting people, Yefi having her “hot girl summer” with multiple appealing men, and even includes Yefi being whisked away to a spectacular mansion set within lush rainforest on a Caribbean mountainside. But there is also deeply moving, heartbreaking realism in Jonah, Yefi’s former husband, whom she will not call her ex because they never broke up, he died. I loved that this isn’t a book about a broken person being “fixed” by a new love, because Yefi isn’t looking to replace her experience with him. This book is about finding the good things in life that can settle in next to the broken, scarred places—and in that way, Emezi writes something both more real and more unbelievable/fantastic than possibly any romance I’ve read before.
If you’re looking for a new read that channels the essence of summer and delivers on steamy romance, check this one out. Additionally, if you’re “not a romance novel person” (I used to label myself this way), check this one out and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. (Romance, Publication Date: May 24)