Akwaeke Emezi Announces New YA Novel ‘Bitter’


Just a couple months after the release of their memoir, author Awaeke Emezi announced their next novel! Coming this February is Bitter. This marks Emezi’s second YA book. Bitter is the companion novel to Emezi’s YA debut Pet. Pre-order it here.

The gorgeous cover features Bitter wielding a paintbrush. According to Emezi, Bitter is meant to resemble Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau. Shyama Golden created the art. Check it out below!

Bitter cover
Cover art by Shyama Golden/Knopf Books for Young Readers

Per Underline, the synopsis reads:

“After a childhood in foster care, Bitter is thrilled to have been chosen to attend Eucalyptus, a special school where she can focus on her painting surrounded by other creative teens. But outside this haven, the streets are filled with protests against the deep injustices that grip the city of Lucille.
Bitter’s instinct is to stay safe within the walls of Eucalyptus . . . but  her  friends  aren’t  willing  to  settle  for  a  world  that’s  so  far  away from what they deserve. Pulled between old friendships, her artistic passion, and a new romance, Bitter isn’t sure where she  belongs—in  the  studio  or  in  the  streets.  And  if  she  does  find a way to help the revolution while being true to who she is, she must also ask: at what cost? 
This  timely  and  riveting  novel—a  companion  to  the  National  Book Award finalist Pet—explores the power of youth, protest, and art.”

Akwaeke Emezi authored four published books: Pet, Freshwater, The Death of Vivek Oji, and Dear Senthuran: A Black Spirit Memoir. Along with Bitter, they have two upcoming books: Content Warning: Everything and You Made a Fool of Death With Your Beauty.

Bitter releases on February 15, 2022.

Julia is a writer/editor/content assistant for Nerds who joined the team in 2019.

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