In Nigerian-American Ebele Chizea’s stunning debut novel, teenager Ada and her mother flee the civil war of their West African home and come to America in 1966, where Ada soon discovers—and blossoms within—the US counterculture movement, developing a drive for anti-war activism which she takes with her back to Nabuka only to uncover new truths about herself as well as family secrets that threaten to shatter her plans for the future.
While protesting the Vietnam war in America, Ada forges friendships with other nonconformist youth: free-spirited Stacey, a boisterous hippie, and Sal, a philosophical wanderlust. Soon she seeks independence from her mother, love on her own terms, as well as sexual autonomy. College provides Ada with opportunities for academic success, personal experimentation, and full independence, as well as heartbreak. Despite loss and grief over a decade, Ada’s heart becomes her own true compass and guides her to fully become the leader and activist she’d always been deep inside.
Chizea’s brilliant prose and storytelling skills are fully apparent as she reveals a young woman’s struggle to find balance in her life and in herself while straddling physical and social borders of two distinctly different cultures.
ISBN: 978-1-953103-25-3; $15; October 25, 2022; 224 pages;
Three Rooms Press; Trade Paper Original
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High Praise for Aquarian Dawn
“This character-driven volume tackles themes such as abandonment, belonging, loss, and racism via a complexly written protagonist whose charismatic personality invests readers from the very first page.” —Publishers Weekly
“Chizea offers YA fiction a provocative maturity and thoughtful nuance that reads like Zadie Smith or Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie but nonetheless provides an undoubted and necessary perspective specifically for young audiences.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Fusing war, politics, love, and confusion in a touching exploration of young womanhood on the brink of national changes, Aquarian Dawn is a memorable novel.” —Foreword Reviews
“Ada’s story, every twist and turn, is worth the trip.” —Kirkus Reviews
About Ebele Chizea
Ebele Chizea was born in Nigeria and moved to the United States at age sixteen. Since graduating with honors in 2004 from Thiel Colege in Greenville, PA, she has published fiction, poetry, and essays in various publications including The African, The Sentinel, The Nigerian Punch, Sahara Reporter, as well as her own online publication, Drumtide Magazine, which featured interviews with prominent figures in the entertainment and literary fields including Afro-punk pioneer Lunden DeLeon, afrobeat musician Seun Kuti, and award-winning Nigerian Belgian novelist, Chika Unigwe. She is the author of How to Slay in Life: A Book of Proverbial Wisdom. AQUARIAN DAWN is her debut novel. She currently lives in Santa Monica, CA.