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Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine (edition 2019)

by Maika Moulite (Author)

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13710157,573 (3.43)None
After an incident at school, seventeen year-old Alaine is spending spring break in a "volunteer immersion project", toiling away under the ever-watchful eyes of Tati Estelle and her eagle-eyed mother at a new nonprofit in Haiti. Although it is meant as punishment, Alaine is still able to flirt with Tati's distractingly cute intern, get some actual face time with her mom and experience her family's history in Haiti for the first time.… (more)
Title:Dear Haiti, Love Alaine
Authors:Maika Moulite (Author)
Info:Inkyard Press (2019), Edition: Original, 432 pages
Collections:Your library

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Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite


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Dear Haiti, Love Alaine is the debut novel for sisters Maika and Maritza Moulite. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy.

Alaine is your average 17 year old high school student trying to navigate life with her divorced parents, her family in Haiti and everything else that comes along with being in high school. When she uses a school presentation as an act of revenge on a classmate, everything comes to a screeching halt and she gets sent to Haiti for a two month volunteer experience rather than being expelled.

Told in emails, diary entries and from the mouth of Alaine herself, Dear Haiti starts out super strong. Up until the minute Alaine travels to Haiti, this book was a solid four star for me. The humor and warmth and over all down to earthness (I can make up words if I want) were perfection. Unfortunately, for me, once the story moved to the next part, I felt the story started to fall apart a bit. While I appreciate everything at work here, I found it hard to keep up. This may be due, in part, to the quality of the ARC I received. A lot of sentences were out of place and I had a hard time tracking what was going on. In the long run, however, I just feel that the story tried to do too much and would have been better had it been narrower in focus.

I still enjoyed the story and rated it 3 out of 5 stars. Dear Haiti, Love Alaine comes out September 2019. ( )
  Stacie-C | May 8, 2021 |
Alaine for president!

No, but seriously I loved Alaine. She was so sharp and tenacious. She was such a believable teenager

I have a pretty limited knowledge of Haiti. Actually, the bulk of it I learned from a news article and some research pieces that we had to read in one of my Spanish courses after the 2010 earthquake. And they were all in Spanish. So yeah, limited knowledge.

This book did an excellent job of weaving the history of Haiti into Alaine’s narrative. I kind of tend to zone out when I’m reading about any history, but I never felt bored while reading this.

Some parts seemed like they were skimmed over - like a scandal that was tied up in a news article. I wanted more information. But I do understand that the book was already 400 pages so I get it. ( )
  zombiibean | Nov 20, 2020 |
The cover drew me in, but the story kept me here.

Y'know it's weird because I like even the tiniest dash of romance, but I didn't care at all about Alaine and her love interest. It wasn't bad I just didn't feel anything for them.

Instead, I enjoyed Alaine's narrative, her family, and the whole curse business. Alaine has some real powerful women in her life, and it's a joy to read. Very little of the Haitian Creole is translated, but if you have any background with romance languages or Google translate handy you can figure it out. Of course, some things you just know with context. I think the language added a nice layer.

Sure, I would recommend. Some may find the ending lackluster, but it was fine with me. ( )
  DestDest | Jul 29, 2020 |
I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

"Dear Haiti, Love Alaine" follows seventeen-year-old Haitian American Alaine. Alaine lives in Miami with her father and has a famous mother who is a reporter living in Washington, D.C. Alaine is what I think most people would call "too much." She is definitely intelligent and it seems holds some pain over the fact that her mother is barely around due to her job and late breaking stories. Her actions in this book made my head hurt. She does a prank to get back at someone and almost ends up killing another classmate. She gets suspended although she was initially threatened with being expelled. As a way to make amends at her school she is supposed to do an assignment on her family's history in Haiti.

So Alaine was aggravating. She ends up going back to Haiti to stay with her aunt and mother for two months and learns barely anything I think about the history of the country. Instead this book focuses on her mother and aunt's history, a cousin with her own messed up sense of values, and curses. I think that if the authors had just focused on Alaine that would have worked better. I really wish that we had Alaine exploring Haiti and finding out about the history of the country. She works at her aunt's foundation and is crushing on an intern. They have a lot of IMs and texts to each other and she just stumbles on information about her family by people just giving her that information.

I can't say much about the secondary characters because they barely matter in this book. Alaine's father is written so weird as is the mother. We know that they both came from Haiti, but we don't get into why they got divorced. And the authors try to throw a little out there about why Alaine's mother had her go live with her father full-time but it made zero sense and then you throw in family curses and I just didn't care anymore. Due to the writing style we flip flop all over the place and you can barely focus on anyone.

The writing style was not for me. The authors decided to tell this story via Alaine's online journal I think and also included excerpts from her mother's diary, letters between her aunt, mother, texts, newspaper articles, etc. I felt like I was being stuffed with information and not a lot of it made sense. Also certain words or whole paragraphs here and there were in red. Also sometimes the fonts would be really big and then change all over the place. I have no idea why that was and I hope that's just a weird formatting issue with my ARC and is not going to be issued like this. I get why "House of Leaves" did certain things to make the book more immersive for readers. This book is not "House of Leaves."

The book mainly takes place in Miami and Haiti. You don't get a sense of Miami at all and the authors take more care to describe Haiti. I am disappointed though that I am still left with not knowing much about Haiti besides two women's names who kept getting mentioned: Marie-Madeline Lachenais and Marie-Louise Coidavid. I really wish the authors had gone into more of its history and how the country had changed through the centuries when under Spanish, French, and American rule. I also wanted to hear more about how the people in the country spoke French as well as Creole. I was fascinated by that and it was just thrown here and there as an aside.

The ending was a mess. I don't want to get into it, but good grief I don't know what the authors were aiming for in this story. Curses are real? ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
"Sometimes you don't want to be responsible for everyone else's problems"(Marc). "Or feel guilty for what you have" (Felicite).

Alaine is sent to Haiti for two months after an incident at school forces her family to take drastic action. Alaine lives with her father, a social worker and has a very famous journalist mother, who she barely sees and has communication with. Alaine is growing up privileged in Miami and at times has conflict over her Haitian culture and assimilation with American life. How she handles being trapped in between two worlds is the root of this novel.

Alaine was great protagonist. She was funny, outspoken, loyal and free spirited. At times her very spunky nature and search for identity caused her to get into trouble or react in ways that her family did not approve of. The authors did a great job of writing Alaine's coming of age story in a funny, light hearted way, although some of the things that happened were heartbreaking and traumatic.

The authors told Alaine's story through notes, emails and letters which was very refreshing and gave the story some lightness. I really liked this book and the character of Alaine was one of my favorites of the year. Overall, I enjoyed this novel and it's immersion in Haitian culture taught me alot. The ending left with a feeling that there is still so much more in store for Alaine and I hope that there is another story in the future. ( )
  Booklover217 | Dec 18, 2019 |
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After an incident at school, seventeen year-old Alaine is spending spring break in a "volunteer immersion project", toiling away under the ever-watchful eyes of Tati Estelle and her eagle-eyed mother at a new nonprofit in Haiti. Although it is meant as punishment, Alaine is still able to flirt with Tati's distractingly cute intern, get some actual face time with her mom and experience her family's history in Haiti for the first time.

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