Book - 2019
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"[A] beautiful, genre-expanding debut. . . . Pet is a nesting doll of creative possibilities." - The New York Times

The award-winning, genre-defying novel by the New York Times bestselling author of THE DEATH OF VIVEK OJI that explores themes of identity and justice and asks: How do you share the truth when the world around you is in denial?

Pet is here to hunt a monster. Are you brave enough to look?

There are no monsters anymore, or so the children in Lucille are taught. Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with the lesson that the city is safe for everyone. But when Jam meets Pet, a creature who some might call monstrous but, in reality, is anything but, she must reconsider what she's been told. Pet has emerged from one of her mother's paintings to hunt a true monster--and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption's house. No one has encountered monsters in years, though, and Jam's quest to protect her best friend and uncover the truth is met with doubt and disbelief.

This award-winning novel from a rising-star author asks: What really makes a monster, and how do you save the world from something if no one will admit it exists?

"[A] beautiful, genre-expanding debut. . . . Pet is a nesting doll of creative possibilities." -The New York Times

"Like [Madeleine] L'Engle, Akwaeke Emezi asks questions of good and evil and agency, all wrapped up in the terrifying and glorious spectacle of fantastical theology." -NPR
Publisher: New York : Make Me a World, [2019]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780525647072
Branch Call Number: YA EMEZI A
Characteristics: 204 pages ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

Monsters don't exist anymore. Or that's what everyone thinks. But when Jam meets a creature made of horns and claws named Pet, everything she knows is put into question.

Stonewall Honor

Art that breathes (literally) + monster hunting + lies

From the critics

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JCLCherylMY Mar 13, 2021

A new to me author, this is a fantastic book about the unseen being seen and what to do about it once it's seen. A multi-layered, complex, and absolutely wonderful story about a difficult subject with engaging, modern characters. Nominated for the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, this marks their Teen genre debut.

JCLHeatherC Nov 12, 2020

In a world that claims to have eradicated monsters, how do you protect yourself from them? A compelling and thoughtful read.

Oct 04, 2020

Jam lives in Lucille with her mother, Bitter, and her father Aloe. Her best friend is named Redemption. The town of Lucille has been rid of monsters for a long time, but when Jam accidentally bleeds on one of Bitter's paintings, Pet, comes out of it to hunt a new monster in Lucille. Pet says the new monster is in Redemption's house, and Jam must help him figure out who it is.

Pet is a unique story about people who harm others; they are described as monsters. There is a great deal of symbolism and societal commentary in the story that most young people reading it wouldn't pick up on right away. Overall, a simplistic story with a deeper message, but not really my type of story.

STPL_JessH Sep 04, 2020

I absolutely LOVE this book. I would hand it to any and every parent and young person who is interested in reading a work unlike any other. There are moments of complete acceptance and affirmation, and there are moments when this book really challenges the reader. This book is especially relevant right now, when forgetting really is dangerous.

ArapahoeJohanna Aug 28, 2020

Pet takes place in the near future in a city named Lucille, where the revolutionary movements of today have succeeding in establishing a kinder, stronger society. Jam grew up knowing that the monsters with human faces, once prolific and powerful, have all been slain. The systems that created these monsters and brought them to power have all been dismantled and rebuilt. She knows this to be true- until one night an inhuman beast crawls out of her mother’s painting to hunt just such an adversary.

Despite the serious subject matter, this book offers hope and strength at a time when many of us desperately need both. Akwaeke Emezi weaves humor and love throughout their novel, showing the utmost compassion for their characters and inviting us to do the same. Emezi offers us a glimpse into a utopian society built on collaboration and care, where every member of a community is nurtured so they might flourish together. It’s a beautiful vision, but it’s marred by complacency. People choose to forget the past in favor of this bright new world, and this willful ignorance has consequences. At its core, this book is an unconventional exploration of humanity’s potential balanced against the dangers of believing in something as impossible as perfection.

I honestly loved this book from start to finish. It’s a haunting, strange fable that feels perfect for this strange time in history. It’s comforting and optimistic, exploring difficult topics with a gentleness that doesn’t take diminish their gravity. As surreal and fantastic as it is, Akwaeke Emezi’s Pet feels true in the way that all the best fairy tales do. It’s a story about a young girl, a beast, and a monster- and of course, it’s also much more than that.

CCPL_Teens Jul 24, 2020

A cool thing about this book is that the fantasy elements of the story are metaphors for things in today's world that make the reader look and think about these things in a different way.

Mar 11, 2020

WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS Well-written story with a great title character but I was ultimately disappointed. SPOILERS FROM HERE ON OUT: Undeniable and unquestioned justice is swiftly meted out to the bad guy in a way that is impossible in real life. I realize this is a fable, but I suspect this story is a potential trigger to victims of systemic physical or sexual abuse whose "angel" never arrived to mete out justice.

Feb 14, 2020

It was amazing and beautiful and a good way to talk about good and evil, helping and abuse. Also good for highly sensitive kids. If any other adults had to put down Freshwater, maybe it would be easier to go back to it after reading this. Still hesitant about that step, but totally recommend this book for interested teens and adults.

Tigard_HollyCP Jan 06, 2020

Sometime in the future, a revolution has taken place in which monsters have all been neutralized by human angels. Before the revolution, monsters harmed people because of the color of their skin or their gender identity among many other things, but that is all past. People can now be who they are without fear of discrimination or harm. But when Jam accidentally summons a creature from a painting her mother created, Jam faces the fact that monsters may not actually be gone after all. And when she learns that her best friend may be in the presence of this monster, she realizes that she must take action.

I must admit I had a hard time with the author’s style in the beginning, but I am so glad I persevered past the first chapter, because it was worth it.

Jam just so happens to be a black trans girl, and I believe this may be the first book I have ever read with a trans protagonist where the story is not ABOUT them being trans. We need more everyday diversity books with trans characters, and this is a great start. Written by #ownvoices black and non-binary author.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Dec 04, 2019

Beautifully written fable featuring a main character who is transgender.

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JCLChrisK Oct 29, 2019

The first step to seeing is seeing that there are things you do not see.


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