Let's talk about Jessica George's debut novel Maame. I received a digital ARC to read and review via NetGalley and I am so incredibly grateful.

Protagonist Maddie Wright has left home for the first time and needs to figure out how to experience life and who she wants to be in that life. Though I often felt like she was a passive observer in her own life, the more I read, the more I realized that that was exactly who I was when I first starting living life on my own terms. Following Maddie's story felt like going back in time and reliving that journey into adulthood.

Jessica's writing felt raw and honest, like it came from personal experience (and I have no reason to believe it didn't - my own life experiences feel very similar to Maddie's). Each new character that was introduced reminded me of various people I have met in my own life over the years, grounding the story in deeply into my own reality.

Were there parts that felt a bit predictable?
Yes, but I also read a lot of books and watch a lot of television.

Did that take away from my enjoyment of the book as a whole?
Absolutely not.

Maame is the story that we all need right now. It reminds us of the naivety we have all dealt with at one point in our lives and that we all experience life differently, everyone is dealing with their own unique set of problems, and you can never truly know what someone else is going through.

My only complaint about this novel is how much I cried while reading it. Jessica's portrayal of grief and the grieving process was spot on, bringing me back to recent losses in my own life that had me incapacitated in much the same way. But never fear! This story also has healthy doses of humor sprinkled in amongst the heartache.

Love and loss, family and culture, laughter and tears, and a tiny hint of some spice thrown in made this novel a joy to read from beginning to end.

Maame by Jessica George releases February 7, 2023 and is available to preorder now wherever books are sold.