Annaka has always hated her first name. That's why, when her mother packed her up at age seven and moved from Yarmouth to Halifax, she decided she would go by Anna. Now Anna is back in Yarmouth after the death of her beloved Grampy, and sorting through memories from her younger self. She discovers a journal Grampy gifted her years ago; it is filled with snapshots of a happy childhood: sketches of Nan braiding Anna's hair on the porch, stories about road trips Anna and Grampy took in his antique truck, and memories of her best-kept secret, who also happened to be her best friend.
When she finds out her childhood imaginary friend, Clay, is not only real but waiting for her to return to Yarmouth, Anna also discovers that Clay can transport her into those journal entries. Maybe physically reliving memories can help with her Nan's Alzheimer's. Maybe Anna will finally piece together who her absent father is. Maybe she will discover the identity of the mysterious "other Annaka" scribbled in her Grampy's handwriting.
With more questions than answers, Anna learns the danger of dwelling in the past—especially when it forces her to confront some uncomfortable truths. If there's one thing this bittersweet homecoming has forced her to do, it's reconcile who she was with who she is becoming. It turns out that's hard to do when you have changed a lot, but the place that raised you remains unchanged.
From the celebrated spoken-word poet and author of Worthy of Love comes a YA novel about family, identity, and reclaiming the past.
Andre Fenton is an award-winning author, spoken-word artist, and arts educator. He has represented Halifax at seven national poetry festivals across Canada, and his award-winning debut novel, Worthy of Love, was published in 2018. Andre's work focuses on race, self-esteem, and creating more representation in young adult fiction. Annaka is Andre's second novel. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Visit him on Twitter @AndreFenton95 or Instagram @andrefentonauthor.
"Annaka is both specific and universal—a novel about loss, discovering yourself, and growing up. The magical realism Clay and his journal add to the mix will keep readers intrigued as they try to unravel the mysteries of Annaka's family along side her." —Quill & Quire (Toronto, ON)