Under the Udala Trees

Book cover for Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta

Chinelo Okparanta


Book Summary

A unique and devastatingly hopeful story about the paradox of love: even in the midst of war, and ina world dominated by violence and prejudice, still, love transcends. » Mia Couto

Ijeoma comes of age as her nation does; born before independence, she is eleven when civil war breaks out in the young republic of Nigeria. Sent away to safety, she meets another displaced child and they, star-crossed, fall in love. They are from different ethnic communities. They are also both girls.

When their love is discovered, Ijeoma learns that she will have to hide this part of herself. But there is a cost to living inside a lie.

Inspired by Nigeria s folktales and its war, Under the Udala Trees shows through one woman s lifetime how the struggles and divisions of a nation are inscribed into the souls of its citizens. In prose that is elegant and spare, with insights heartbreaking and electrifying, it offers a story shot through with hope that points to a future when a woman might just be able to become fully herself, shaping her life around truth and love.

2SLGBTQIA, Lesbian fiction, Homophobia, Romance, Nigeria, Haiti, Civil war, Sexuality, Sexual orientation

Age Range
Ages 12+ (grades 8 and up)
Mariner Books; Reprint edition (September 20, 2016)
Book Category
Sexual Orientation