I’m honestly completely confused about how it’s March again, given that it’s been March for the last year. (At least, here in America, where folks seem to have forgotten about the whole pandemic thing … Not that I’m salty or anything …)

Regardless of how it might feel, it is, in fact, a new month, and you know what that means: a new book to read and discuss in meetings of the FYA Book Club! This month’s pick is Akwaeke Emezi’s Pet, a fantastical novel about the variety of monsters that can exist in the world.

Read on for our discussion questions—beware possible spoilers below—and feel free to add questions of your own in the comments!

Content Warning

Implied/off-page sexual and physical abuse of a child.

Icebreaker

Food is one of the many ways Jam’s parents show their love for her—and for Redemption, who loves dodo (fried plantains). Growing up, what was your favorite meal to have at home?

Questions

1. In their review of Pet, the NY Times writes that Jam “unwaveringly defines the parameters of her own existence.” Do you feel this makes Jam a unique YA protagonist? Why or why not? And what did you find most compelling about her?

2. Pet operates under a very black and white code of ethics that doesn’t always mesh with Jam’s moral compass. What was your takeaway from their differing perspectives?

3. Did you picture Lucille in a certain country or area of the world? Why or why not? And in what time period do you think the book is set?

4. What insights do you think Akwaeke Emezi hoped their readers would gain from Pet? And what did you come away with?

5. What did you think about the way adults were portrayed in the book?

6. Jam says that teachers often shied away from talking about religion when that part of history came up. And yet, Pet is maybe an angel (of the monstrous sort, rather than the gloriously beautiful). What did you think about the way Emezi dealt with (or didn’t) religion in the book?

7. As Jam learns, the angels say, “Do not be afraid.” How does Akwaeke Emezi utilize the theme of fear to explore the cycle of monsters in our society?

8. Did you have a hard time picturing what Pet looked like? Why or why not?

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband and their dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.