After the Rain

Abrams/Megascope. Jan. 2021. 128p. adapted by adapt. by John Jennings. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9781419743559.
Gr 9 Up–Nigerian American Chioma’s first mistake was not trusting her instincts; her second was opening the door. While she is visiting her Igbo relatives in Nigeria, a wounded child knocks on the door. She’s horrified; she’s never seen anything this gruesome, not even in five years working as a cop on Chicago’s South Side. The boy passes something on to her, a dark energy that she can’t quite articulate. Its sulfuric stench lingers in every room of her grandmother’s house and seeps into the dark corners of her mind. Chioma turns to her relatives for help, but they tell her what comes must come. In Jennings’s adaptation of Nigerian American author Okorafor’s short story “On the Road,” a woman haunted by her past finds healing in her ancestral home. Brame’s artistry is bold; no space on the page is left untouched. Vines and flowers weave menacingly around the minimal panels, heightening the suspense. Jennings and Brame draw attention to the margins and backgrounds, where Chioma’s spiritual transformation evolves in a brilliant showcase of West African traditional folklore.
VERDICT Jennings paints an initially terrifying reality, highlighting the vulnerability of self-discovery and the tension of being from two different worlds and cultures. Part horror, part magical realism, this #OwnVoices story is a worthwhile addition to any collection.

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