Published: September 10, 2019
Publisher: Make Me a World
Genre: Young Adult, Own Voices, Magical Realism
Pet is a story about the town of Lucille where the Angels (elders) have gotten rid of all monsters yet our protagonist, Jam, comes upon a monster hunter and has to decide if she is willing to believe there are monsters in a monsterless world. Jam is a selectively mute teenage girl who accidentally calls forth a creature that only she can communicate with, whom she names Pet. Pet informs her that it is there because there is a monster hurting someone she knows and it needs her help to find out who it is. This leaves Jam conflicted because her whole life she has been told that Lucille is safe and that the Angels fought to eradicate and bring to justice all the monsters.
This is a beautifully written magical realism book with a clever yet heartbreaking plot. I think the fact that Jam is selectively mute was a brilliant way to make the words she chooses to say more powerful. I also admire the juxtaposition of Pet being what we would consider a monster against a human living in a monsterless world being the monster. Pet was such an interesting and exceptional character. I will say that if you are someone who is going to want more world building beyond the fact that Pet shows up you aren’t going to get it. Not a lot of the history of Lucille or Pet’s home are fleshed out. To me this book is so powerful and gets its message across so clearly because it is not bogged down by too many details.
I was not expecting this story to be as dark as it was. The story is brutal and I highly recommend checking out the trigger warnings I have linked above before you start reading this. This book brought me to tears more than once and the ending was wrought with emotion. Emezi has an incredible talent for writing and their word choices really make the story come alive.
This book is categorized as a young adult novel but I think that Emezi’s message is one that a lot of adults need to hear. Pet was published in 2019 but I think that it a timeless reminder that monsters are good at disguising themselves and they might in fact be someone that we think is a hero.
“Monsters don’t look like anything, That’s the whole point. That’s the whole problem.”