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Aluta

Review

Aluta

Charlotte is living her best life. She is settling into university life and getting used to all its perks. She has men lining up at her door, friends with whom she can talk the night away and, best of all, a father who is no longer able to watch every single thing she does. But what happens when political situations that are completely out of her hand disrupt her life? Charlotte has to choose between being active in the movement for justice or remaining the quiet girl her father would want her to be...

"I enjoyed the book for the rich culture and history of Ghana it portrayed. I had never read a novel quite like this; it was a unique way to portray the journey to independence of a small nation."

Reading this book felt a little like being on a see-saw. I started off feeling like I was the one on top, then there was a slow buildup to the main action of the story. I felt connected to Charlotte during this part. Charlotte is quite a relatable character. She is bold and beautiful --- timid at first, but not afraid to speak her mind when she has the chance. However, I spent too long at the top on the see-saw. I kept anticipating the part where I would finally be able to experience the action of the story that was introduced in the blurb. When was it coming? The answer, at least for me, was a little too long into the book. There was a long buildup to the story, which was great and allowed me to understand the characters, but the actual action took place in such a short amount of time that it felt like it didn’t belong. It took too long in getting set up that I was abruptly brought down with not a lot of explanation.
 
Romantic relationships and I have a long history. That is to say, I have never been in one (except in some truly wonderful dreams), and I don’t see the point of them most of the time (at least in books). I have seen an increasing trend of authors simply putting in romantic relationships into novels for some unknown reason. I wonder sometimes if it’s because they feel that their characters are incomplete without the added depth a romantic relationship gives them. The relationship between Banahene and Charlotte seemed to come out of nowhere. There were only a hint of romantic feelings by Banahene and none by Charlotte that I could pick up on. Everything the author wanted to accomplish by giving Charlotte a romantic relationship could have been portrayed by simply making their relationship a close friendship. Perhaps it is the cynical part of me talking but I did not see how a romantic relationship really had a huge impact on the book as a whole.
 
Overall, I enjoyed the book for the rich culture and history of Ghana it portrayed. I was able to start several conversations with my classmates all of whom are greatly interested in African history. I had never read a novel quite like this; it was a unique way to portray the journey to independence of a small nation.

As a disclaimer and very important note to those planning to read ALUTA, the end of the book is extremely heartbreaking. Everything is going so well for Charlotte, but then she becomes the victim of a brutal physical assualt and subsequent trauma, all of which happens in the last 50 pages. This was a little like the see-saw effect. It all happened too quickly for me to comprehend everything. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and felt sympathy for Charlotte.

Reviewed by Pranshu A., Teen Board Member on September 19, 2016

Aluta
by Adwoa Badoe