100 pages • 3 hours readNnedi Okorafor
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Sunny is a 12-year-old girl and the protagonist of the story. At the beginning of the novel, she identifies herself as someone who can “confuse” other people, not easily falling into understood categories of identity. Born in New York to Nigerian parents, Sunny lived in the United States until she was nine, then moved with her family to Nigeria. Other characters notice she speaks Igbo, the local language, with an American accent. Sunny also has albinism, meaning that although her facial features look West African, her skin and hair are very pale. These traits—not being exclusively American or Igbo, having ambiguous physical characteristics—make her stand out and feel self-conscious. At school, they also make her the target of bullying. She feels as though her father hates her, seeing her as neither a son nor a beautiful daughter. Although Sunny is very talented at soccer, she is frustrated that she can rarely play because her albinism makes her skin vulnerable to the sun. She often feels out of place. Through her friendships with her classmate Orlu and his neighbor Chichi, Sunny learns of her secret identity as a Leopard Person, a discovery that excites and frightens her.
By Nnedi Okorafor