How You Grow Wings by Rimma Onoseta

Disclaimer: I received this finished copy from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: How You Grow Wings

Author: Rimma Onoseta

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 5/5

Diversity: Nigerian MCs and characters

Recommended For…: young adult readers, contemporary, Nigeria, Nigerian characters, realistic fiction, family, sisterhood

Publication Date: August 9, 2022

Genre: YA Contemporary

Age Relevance: 16+ (religion, religious trauma, violence, child abuse, sexual content, sexism, colorism, animal violence, animal death, rape, death, grief, racism, colonization, panic attack, cursing, kidnapping, PTSD, addiction, depression)

Explanation of Above: Religion and religious trauma are discussed and shown throughout the novel, including bits about purity culture and it shows how toxic it can be. There is physical violence shown and child abuse is shown and mentioned. There’s also a kidnapping scene. Death and grief are shown in the book. There is some sexism shown and sexual content is mentioned as well, including adultery. Colorism and racism are mentioned and shown in the book. There is some animal violence via a chicken fight and mentions of killing a chicken for food. Rape is mentioned, but not shown. Colonization is discussed. There is a scene with a panic attack and PTSD is shown. Addiction and depression is also shown and discussed.

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Pages: 336

Synopsis: Sisters Cheta and Zam couldn’t be more different. Cheta, sharp-tongued and stubborn, never shies away from conflict—either at school or at home, where her mother fires abuse at her. Timid Zam escapes most of her mother’s anger, skating under the radar and avoiding her sister whenever possible. In a turn of good fortune, Zam is invited to live with her aunt’s family in the lap of luxury. Jealous, Cheta also leaves home, but finds a harder existence that will drive her to terrible decisions. When the sisters are reunited, Zam alone will recognize just how far Cheta has fallen—and Cheta’s fate will rest in Zam’s hands.

Debut author Rimma Onoseta deftly explores classism, colorism, cycles of abuse, how loyalty doesn’t always come attached to love, and the messy truths that sometimes family is not a source of comfort and that morality is all shades of gray.

Review: I really liked this book! I loved how the chapters were done and showcased each sister. While both sisters had a hard life with their own set of unique struggles, I liked how each was framed and how the theme of the book was sisterhood and what that can look like. The book did excellent to discuss different issues as well and it’s probably one of the best contemporary books I’ve read recently. The character development was superb and the world building was also well done.

The only issue I had with the book is that I wanted more of a conclusion to the book. It kind of ends and it’s a cliff hanger of sorts as to what the next chapters in the sisters’ lives are. I’d love to see a continuation as to what happens to the both of them.

Verdict: It was excellent! Highly recommend!

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