Façade by Emem Uko


Genre Fiction: Young Adult Romance.

Blurb “To the naked eyes, Emma, a recent high school graduate, is beyond beautiful and smart, which is a combination that would give any girl an immeasurable sense of self-confidence. But as it turns out, the eyes are yet to discover and understand the real Emma. Adam, her saving angel who is wise beyond his years, wholeheartedly accepts the real Emma and teaches her to do the same.”

Dialogue Believable. Written in English.

Themes Coming of age, Communication, Love, Insecurity, Self-preservation and Self-discovery.

Editing Some errors.

Plot Emma Kaz, a high school graduate is at a crossroads in her life. Everyone expects her to go to college as she is smart and received offers from all colleges she applied to, but she wants a different path in life which does not include going to college. She meets Adam Larry, a young, handsome and wealthy professional and they fall in love but Emma doesn’t share her secrets with Adam which causes friction in their relationship. Just as one is wondering if the relationship can bear the weight of Emma’s insecurities, an unexpected event occurs which changes everything.

What worked?

Lady B I’ll issue a disclaimer before I state my thoughts about this book. I am not a fan of young adult books so I rarely read them. However, I wanted to read a book by Emem and since she only had young adult books; I had to settle for one.

Façade is written in the first person from the point of view of Emma, our protagonist. It oscillates between the past and present of Emma’s life. Emma narrates this story to us, describing her life and everything in between. She spends too much time describing herself and every other thing that catches her fancy. She’s also insecure which affects her relationship with Adam. We thought Emma was too superficial and self-absorbed though, this is not unexpected at her age.

Emma is an ambiguous character, we don’t know her race or background. We wonder if this is deliberate or just a flaw in developing Emma’s character but it made Emma less relatable.

Adam was too good to be true. His only flaw seemed to be his resentment of his father whom he caught in bed with his aunt which led to the breakup of his parents’ marriage. The first person narration by Emma means you don’t know what is going on in Adam’s head. This makes it difficult for you to connect with Adam.

This story touches on one of the phases in young people’s lives. The phase where your inadequacies take centre stage and you think you are not enough. For some, they get over it and outgrow it, for others there are life-changing events that cause this “outgrowing.” The latter applies to Emma and Emem does a good job of exploring this, especially the conflict between Emma’s thoughts about herself as beautiful vs her insecurities.

Façade is Emem’s debut novel. For a debut book, it was a passable first attempt. The strength of this book is that she explores heartbreak differently. The plot twist towards the end of the book was great and added depth to the book though the end was over the top and anticlimactic.

Overall, this book may appeal to young adult readers who just want to suspend it all and dive right straight into Emma’s world.

What didn’t work?

Lady B I was uncomfortable with Emma being 17 when she started dating 23-year-old Adam (she turned 18 in the course of the relationship). Maybe I’m old-fashioned and well… old! I also found Adam’s actions behind Emma’s back creepy.

The narration in the book could have been better arranged. The beginning was Emma reminiscing about her past which got boring after the first few pages. Nothing of note happened for most of the book until towards the end when everything happened at the same time.

There was too much exposition in the book and some of it did nothing to move the plot forward. I wanted to like this book, but it just didn’t work for me.

Mo With this book, Emem couldn’t hold my attention as a reader. If we were not reviewing it, I’d have tossed it. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. It felt like I was reading through an essay I wasn’t invested in. The ending and the unravelling of this great mystery was a let-down.

Number of pages 537 on Okadabooks.

Publisher Createspace Independent Publishing Platform.

Damage N800 on Okadabooks.

Rating 5/10.

Façade is available on Amazon and Okadabooks.

Have you read Façade? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

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