Some books are just special. A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars by Yaba Badoe is one of those books.
It is the story of fourteen year old Sante, who is part of Mama Rose's circus, has the skills of an acrobat and an uncanny affinity with animals.
Sante was found by Mama Rose when she was a baby, washed ashore in a chest stuffed with treasures. A survivor from a refugee ship that had sunk.
One day the circus arrives in a place where people recognise Sante, and her dreams of her dead family become cries from beyond their watery grave for revenge.
When I was reading this book, I fell in love with Sante. She is a great protagonist. And in fact I loved all the females in this book and the relationships between them. This book has strong, interesting and complex characters a plenty and they're mostly women.
The story is a powerful one, jam packed with the magic of the circus, the ghostly otherworld of the dead, and the horrors of people-trafficking. It is written artfully, rich with the imagery and magic of African folklore. You will not read another book like it. It is a page turner that had my heart beating a thousand different rhythms. At one point I could hear my heart galloping in my chest as I read, it is that dramatic.
I enjoyed every page of A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars and I will be buying it for every teenage girl I know with a birthday, because it should be read widely. If you haven't come across this book yet, then please seek it out, because, as I said, it is special, and you will thank me.
I can't wait to see what Yaba Badoe writes next. I'll be first in line at the till.