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2021 National Indie Excellence Awards Winner for Young Adult Fiction!
2021 Indies Book of the Year Awards Finalist for Young Adult Fiction!
2021 Best Book Awards Finalist for Young Adult Fiction!
“We are most courageous at our weakest; when we believe we have faced what we fear the most and have nothing more to lose.”
Set against the backdrop of two warring towns, Oby Aligwekwe’s Young Adult debut—told from the viewpoint of her main character—is inspired by her West African heritage, fables, and spiritual beliefs. Ona’s journey reveals the power of choice, the true source of happiness, and, most importantly, the transformation one must go through to realize and eventually occupy their purpose.
At the sudden death of her grandfather, Ona’s pain transports her to mystical Luenah—a place of infinite possibilities, free of turf wars and other ills that plague the earthly dimension she lives in. In Luenah, where her grandfather awaits her, Ona learns she is an Eri, one bestowed with unique intuitive and spiritual gifts passed down from generation-to-generation.
On her 18th birthday, she returns to Luenah and is handed a box to deposit her “exchange” for love and happiness—her greatest desires. Burdened by her quest, Ona crosses paths with danger and heartbreak as the two men that love her dearly are viciously pitted against each other. As evil looms, she learns that dreams carry a hefty price, and no one is who they seem. Now, she must unmask the villain and save the one she loves, even at the risk of losing everything she holds dear.
“Young adults and older readers will be enchanted by this fantasy’s magic, romance, and life lessons.” (Booklife by Publishers Weekly)
Read an Excerpt
It was right there and then that I entered Luenah for the first time. I’d found myself walking down a narrow path, bordered by trees on both sides that formed a canopy over my head. Orange streaks filtering through the gaps in the trees formed abstract patterns on the ground, which created an optical illusion. I’d felt a gentle breeze blow across my face, tickling my nostrils and forcing a sneeze. As I began to inhale and appreciate the serenity the surroundings offered my aching heart, I saw an orangutan jumping from branch to branch. I followed it with my eyes and lost track of my steps for a moment. Not realizing I had reached the tail end of the path, I continued walking and entered a seemingly different world, landing on a trail near a seashore. My grandfather was right there, waiting to take my hand. Shocked to see him after just hearing he had died, I trembled and remained fixed to the spot.
“Ona, it’s me,” he said, looking down to smile at me.
“Papa,” I cried, hugging him as tears rolled down my cheeks.
We held hands and walked in silence for a few minutes before we came upon the shimmering sea.
“Where is this, Papa?” I had asked, finally garnering the courage to speak. “Where are we? Why did you leave? Answer me, Papa,” I demanded, tugging gently on his robe.
“Good things come to those who wait,” he had responded in a monotone. “You must be patient.”
Surprisingly, I obeyed.
We got to a narrow street, and I realized this world did not belong to only me and my grandfather. There were all kinds of people, in all shades, colors, and sizes. There were people everywhere: on the streets; in the market; in the field; and even in the sky, hovering in large aircrafts. A variety of marine mammals leaped in and out of the ocean.
About the Author:
Oby Aligwekwe is the award-winning author of Nfudu, Hazel House, and The Place Beyond Her Dreams—her third novel and Young Adult debut. In 2021, The Place Beyond Her Dreams won the National Indie Excellence Awards in the Young Adult Fiction Category.
When Oby is not working on her day job or whipping up stories, she enjoys traveling to exotic locations and bringing pieces of her travel with her. She lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her family and supports her community through her charity Éclat Beginnings.