Reviews: One Afternoon in April

Pikasho Deka for Readers’ Favorite

One Afternoon in April is a satirical comedy-drama novel written by Pete KJ. A routine hiking trail becomes the source of an ever-escalating chain of events when a seemingly random incident intersects the lives of three people from wildly different cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. Amy Draper is an older white woman in her sixties. She desperately misses her husband, whom she lost to Covid the previous year. Trying to pet an innocent-looking alpaca, Amy falls off the trail, leading her to develop a concussion. The alpaca belongs to Genie, vice-president of a tech company who seeks her place in the universe. When Amy decides to sue Genie for damages, a second-generation Vietnamese immigrant named Max Trieu finds himself entwined in a bizarre sequence of events alongside the two women.

There is some relevant social commentary underlying the often hilarious narrative of author Pete KJ, which at first glance doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously. I had an absolute blast with the book. The three main characters, Genie, Max, and Amy, drive the plot forward with their distinct personalities that make for a thoroughly entertaining reading experience. Although the dynamic between Genie and Max is enjoyable, Amy’s character arc blew me away. The backstories of the characters add a ton of depth to their personalities and make them well-realized. Max’s upbringing in a conservative immigrant Vietnamese family shows the conflicting nature of humans, where people sometimes tend to make decisions against their own interests due to being brainwashed through social media. If you love dark comedy satirical novels, One Afternoon in April is the book for you.

“IRONIC AND HUMOROUS…Author Pete KJ has struck a deep nerve in three very disparate and interesting characters.” – Grant Leishman for Readers’ Favorite

“THIS LIGHT AND FUNNY BOOK is the latest from Pete KJ, who specializes in books about people from many cultures and ethnicities and what happens when they cross paths in unexpected ways. The results are simultaneously funny, incredulous and thought provoking.” –Sue Campbell

“AN EXCELLENT STORY of racial interactions and post-Coronavirus transformations…designed to keep readers thinking about the roots of prejudice, love, and change.” – D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“HEARTFELT AND REALISTIC…will make readers smile knowingly between their chuckles.” – K.C. Finn

“A GREAT PIECE OF STORYTELLING that epitomizes the current state of U.S. society. I think we all, in one way or another, relate to this narrative.” – Jude Juventus Aweya