How You Grow Wings


By Rimma Onoseta

Formats and Prices




$15.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around January 2, 2024. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

An award-winning, "unforgettable" novel for fans of Ibi Zoboi and Erika L. Sánchez (SLJ, starred review) about two sisters when the line between family and foe is blurred.

Sisters Cheta and Zam couldn’t be more different. Cheta, sharp-tongued and stubborn, never shies away from conflict—either at school or at home, where her mother fires abuse at her. Timid Zam escapes most of her mother’s anger, skating under the radar and avoiding her sister whenever possible.
In a lucky turn, Zam is invited to live in her aunt’s luxurious home. Jealous, Cheta also leaves home, but to a hard existence that will drive her to terrible decisions. When the sisters are reunited, Zam alone sees just how far Cheta has fallen—and Cheta’s fate is in Zam’s hands.

Kirkus Prize Finalist * Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year * An SLJ Best Book of the Year * A Children’s Africana Book Award Honor Winner * A Rise: A Feminist Book Project honoree * A Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year * Nautilus Silver Award Winner * Amazon August Editors' pick

  • Kirkus Prize Finalist
    Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the year
    A SLJ Best Book of the year
    A Children’s Africana Book Award Honor Winner
    A Rise: A Feminist Book Project honoree
    A Chicago Public Library Best Book of the year
    Amazon August Editors' pick for Best Young Adult

    * “The novel tells each sister’s story in ways that are moving and show how understandable the decisions they make are, even when they can’t empathize with one another…. Onoseta explores a range of social issues, including class, colorism, intergenerational trauma, and colonization, through a masterfully crafted and diverse cast of characters. This nonlinear narrative presents a universal story: girls striving to find their way in a patriarchal society. A stunning and emotional debut.”
    Kirkus Reviews, starred review

    * “Onoseta’s devastatingly vulnerable debut, told nonlinearly in two teen Nigerian girls’ dual perspectives, portrays a tempestuous sisterhood amid colorism, familial trauma, and financial precarity…. Onoseta uses visceral prose to sensitively depict Zam and Cheta’s home life and the abuse they endured. The teens’ complicated familial relationships, further ravaged by wealth disparities and societal presumptions, presents an arresting look at two girls embarking on diverging futures in a character-driven story that promises—and delivers—hope for a brighter tomorrow.”
    Publishers Weekly, starred review

    * "Debut author Onoseta’s novel offers exceptionally rich character development…. Modern social and political issues are masterfully woven into the narrative.... An unforgettable, character-driven exploration of sisterhood, survival, and self-advocacy perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo or Ibi Zoboi."
    School Library Journal, starred review

    "Riveting debut novel....The rich cultural, linguistic, and social customs of Nigerian life are on full display.... The sisters’ stories take readers on a rewarding journey from brokenness toward wholeness and healing."
    Horn Book Magazine

    "An extraordinary debut."
    The Buffalo News

    "Debut Nigerian author Rimma Onoseta deftly explores classism, colorism and cycles of abuse."

    "How You Grow Wings might be labeled a YA title, but the themes it explores—abuse, colorism, mental illness, classism—make it a compelling read for all."
    Essence Magazine

    "Intense yet tender, How You Grow Wings is an emotional story about family dynamics, loyalty vs. love, and handling truth. It explores generational trauma, specific to Nigerian families, domestic abuse, colorism, classism, and, most importantly, overcoming it all."
    Youth Services Book Reviews, 5 star review

    “Intense, immersive, absorbing. From the moment I met sisters Zam and Cheta, I was completely invested in their fates. I read compulsively as they shared their struggles with each other, their mother, and their society. A story of mothers and daughters, sisters and enemies, women and girls striving, against all odds, to break generational trauma and abuse and find their own path in life.” 
    —Yamile Saied Méndez, Pura Belpré Award-winning author of Furia
    “A raw and riveting look at the complexity of sisterhood and the bonds that keep us together.”
    Louisa Onome, author of Like Home

    “A heartbreaking portrait of the trauma of colonization and colorism on the black family and body. Onoseta renders sisterhood as both the open wound and the salve that allows Cheta and Zam to take flight.”
    —Christina Hammonds Reed, New York Times bestselling author of The Black Kids
    “A powerful meditation on how oppression and violence are passed down in families, and how two sisters find very different paths to escaping its grip.”
    —Shannon Gibney, award-winning author of Dream Country
    “Masterfully written, evocative, and searing. How You Grow Wings is the story that I've been waiting for my whole life. Rimma Onoseta captures all-too-familiar, yet complex, family dynamics with candor, tenderness, conviction, and nuance. A brave strike against deep-seated generational trauma that has plagued families across several cultures for far too long.”
    —Candice Iloh, author of the National Book Award Finalist Every Body Looking

On Sale
Jan 2, 2024
Page Count
336 pages

Rimma Onoseta

Rimma Onoseta

About the Author

RIMMA ONOSETA is a Nigerian writer whose work explores identity, familial bonds, and the colonial corruption of African spirituality. She holds a degree in Finance from Northeastern University and an MBA from Suffolk University. Onoseta grew up reading late into the night, under her covers, with a flashlight and snacks. She writes stories she wanted to read when she was younger, stories about young Nigerians girls who are chaotic and fierce, and who question what they’re taught. When she’s not writing, Onoseta enjoys traveling and watching documentaries.  

Learn more about this author