I decided to start reading more African literature, especially works from Nigerian authors and that’s why I was excited when the author sent me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Backlash is the first book in a young adult adventure/drama series, written by Imamfonido Okon(also known as Loyallove Nightfall), a young and brilliant Nigerian woman, who has a knack for spinning beautiful stories. It was self-published by the author in March 2022 and has a lot of promise.
Olive Bennet and her family have just moved to Brown Stone, a city that held some sort of promise. Olive was tired of constantly being uprooted just when she was starting to settle down. While she was tired of the incessant relocations, Olive knew she didn’t have a choice.
Moving to a new city meant getting used to a new environment and school, and Olive was ready for all that. What she didn’t expect was the extreme hostility, constant bullying, and incessant mockery that came from the popular squad.
When she, her twin brother, and their friends get into danger on a school trip, Olive decides it is time to finally take a step to protect the people she loves. What started as a spiteful prank soon blossoms into a full crime, complete with murder and lies.
Plot and theme
When I picked up Backlash, I was a bit hesitant to read it because of the cover, but then I added it to my reading list because I knew that I had to read it. The words “don’t judge a book by its cover” came to my mind as I was reading because it was quite an entertaining read. The book had three main themes; bullying, friendship, and courage. The author added a plot twist that was not in the least bit predictable, and I was impressed.
But I did have a few issues with the plot. There were times when I had no idea where exactly the author wanted to go with the book. A typical high school cliché was definitely in play until the author cut it off and rendered some characters irrelevant.
Again, the banter was too much and took the seriousness out of very dire situations, and the story had very slow pacing, which became way too fast at the end.
- Olive: Her character was depicted as the normal high school new girl who’s beautiful and a threat to the most popular girl in school. While I understand trying to keep her father’s status private to avoid unnecessary attention, I felt Olive could have avoided everything by simply coming forward with the truth. When it comes to high school, I don’t think anyone would keep their family status private especially when it can stop them from being bullied.
- Roy: Twin brother to Olive, and the king of banter. His ability to crack jokes even in difficult situations was one I admired in the beginning but quickly got tired of. I love good banter, but I do know there are times when you don’t remember to banter because you’re in grave danger.
- Justin and Sophie: Friends to Olive and her twin. I liked the dynamics of their friendship, and how they looked out for each other.
- Mirabel: The villain, and biggest bully in Backlash. Someone as insane as she is should be locked up in a mental institution because I do not understand how a person can be walking around with such anger and hatred for someone who has done absolutely nothing to them.
When I read a book, I always have a favorite character. But with Backlash, I found it quite difficult to choose a favorite because each character didn’t exactly have any development. But, if I did have to choose one character to be my favorite, It would be Horace, the Bennett family butler. There is something about an efficient and kind man that is alluring.
This book caters to a much younger demographic, so I recommend it to younger readers. If you also enjoy reading YA fiction, you should try reading Backlash.
Star Rating: 3/5
WRITTEN BY CASS