My Thoughts: The Selection Trilogy

Author: Kiera Cass

I usually have a strategic way of switching around books on my “to read next” list. And I operate mostly on suggestions. But one day, I decided I wasn’t in the mood for any of the books on my very, very long “to read next” list. (As unlikely as this is, it does happen sometimes.) So I went hunting for a book I’d never heard of before. I knew I wanted YA, very modern, and possibly even futuristic. The real reason I was so specific with what kind of book I wanted is that I’d been reading A Storm of Swords (GRRM) for over 2 weeks and I honestly just needed a break.

Thanks to a combination of Goodreads’ algorithms and Tronomie’s judgment, I finally settled on The Selection Trilogy by Kiera Cass. And I loved every second of reading it. No lie. I do this thing where I usually don’t allow myself to read the books in a series back to back, for fear I’ll get bored of the story/the characters too quickly – but I unapologetically devoured the entire Selection trilogy at once. It is hands down my favourite YA trilogy at the moment, for various reasons. And before you ask, yes, I do like it more than the Divergent trilogy and the Hunger Games trilogy. Which is not to say that it is better than all of those other trilogies; it is just to say that I, Akotowaa, like it more.


Reading this series, I actually took real notes so that later, when I wrote about it, I wouldn’t forget any of the important reasons why I liked it. And I must say it was the concepts and themes that attracted me more than anything…once you get past my superficial attraction to the idea of anything remotely Disney-like: a girl and a prince et cetera.



So here we are in Illéa, a country/kingdom/monarchy named after its supposed hero and founding father, Gregory Illéa, who repaired a broken country that was once called the United States of America, after it had dissolved itself in the brutal World War 4, and been colonized by China. There’s a brilliant metaphor that stems from here, but I’ll get to that later.

Things are very different in Illéa. Now we have monarchs in a kingdom, as opposed to Presidents in a Republic. But what really affects the society is the caste system. Just as Hunger Games had districts, Divergent had factions, the Selection has castes. They number from 1 to 8, and if you’re a 1, you’re at the top – a literal royal; and if you’re an 8, you effectively don’t exist. Fill in the gradient by wealth and status. What interested me more than the wealth/status thing about the castes was how inextricably occupation/profession was tied to the caste system.

The main character, America Singer, was a 5. The 5s were artists. And pretty low down, I must say. And you had other fixed things, like how 4s were mostly teachers, 6s were mostly labourers or servants. Hmm. This ranking gave me plenty food for thought. And it occurred to me that while we have no governmentally defined caste-by-occupation systems in the version of the real world I know, it resembles this fictional one very much. I love this thing about especially dystopian YA: it is like exaggerated reality. And another thing: it is much easier to move down in caste than the nearly impossible task of working your way up.



In every generation, the royal son who is to become the next king, has to find a wife. The problem? He’s lived is whole life sheltered in the palace and has had no time to date. The solution? A competition worthy of the 21st century’s E! channel. 35 girls from all the castes (except from of course 1, and I think 8, though I may be wrong about the latter), fighting to become queen, or a 1, or the prince’s wife. In truth, all of them come as a package, but the girls have different goals. Also, there’s no real scheduled elimination. If and when you’re sacked, you gotta bounce.

The entire process of choosing a wife, the next regent, the idea of one teenage man legally dating so many girls at once, is very questionable. Which is what makes it all so interesting to think about – even though the reasons for the method may be somewhat legit.



There is a character named Aspen. He shows up in the series as America’s boyfriend. He made me tired. He was a 6, one caste below America’s 5. And by default, he was poorer and worse off in society. And because I thought he was such a nice, sensible person before, he really made me upset when he started flipping out when America provided for him when he was lacking. Or even the idea of it. Explain it away all you want, but it really came down to one thing for me: male ego. After that, I was more or less done with Aspen, even if America/the story wasn’t. I wasn’t feeling the back and forth romance between Aspen and America at all.



This is possibly my favourite theme in fiction because I think it’s such an integral part of how and why we become who we are. Parenting is a tricky thing. Growing up is a terrifying one. Then you think about favouritism, disparities, aspiration, and most importantly, misguided parental concern.

The relationship most interesting to me here was the one between Maxon (the Prince,) and his father, the King. It was so absurd, the consistent disregard of someone who really could have so much to contribute, for the sake of his/her youth – even when this person is royal and about to be handed the reins to rule an entire kingdom. But whatever, right?



This was not a major theme at all. But I appreciate it because it was as present and as oddly placed in the books as it is in reality. In particular, there was a maid called Lucy who suffered from panic attacks, and had a backstory of trauma that triggered them.

Oh, and there is a reason Maxon reminds me of Tobias Eaton from Divergent. *winks *



This is a real thing that happens. Think Tiananmen Square. Think Biafran War. Think all of African history, pre- and even post-colonial. Think of all the things the politically altered history books don’t want you to know. Why wouldn’t Illéa (read: the United States) do it to itself? Of course – save your people from knowing the truth about the person you call a national savior.

My lexivist self likes this whole idea because of how the truth is preserved and discovered: through writing. Now that’s wassup.



She’s a hotheaded, impulsive, very intelligent idiot, with a talent for screwing things up while aiming for a very beneficial goal. I have never seen anyone who makes such Akotowaa-worthy bad moves! Reading her was so much fun. Except the love triangle part. I have no problems telling people I love that I love them. The fact that America couldn’t do that was highly irritating.



Two major things that I liked:

  1. All of the characters’ names were, in my opinion, fantastic. I’m going to recycle many of them in obscure places.
  2. It’s like when Kiera Cass could no longer find use for characters, she casually killed them off, or somewhat unceremoniously drove them out of the story. That was kind of amusing.



I love that the main character was called America, a symbol of the past, of rebellion. But this is the metaphor concerning the history of Illéa which I said earlier in this post that I’d get to later: The Selection trilogy is lowkey about the fall and eventual rise of…America. That was a fascinating epiphany.

This series is relevant. (And also slightly sappy and frustrating at times. But it’s lit!) Read it, because I said so. =D




To Her (And I’m the “Her”!)

You know when you feel like you’re doing actual work in the world? Like actually making a difference? For me that doesn’t happen often, but somehow, someway, this summer, it did. And I freaking freaked out.

In April, I released a spoken word video called Anti-Indoctrination. It’s “lexivist” – encompassing my lexical activism, encouraging anyone with a passion for words to freaking go for it. And do you know what happened? It actually touched someone enough to inspire them to write. To write spoken word. To write spoken word “to me”!

I was sitting at my dining table one day when I got an instagram DM from @its_boham. I had a vague idea of who she was because she’s friends with some of my friends, but I had zero personal connection to her. Then she told me she’d listened to Anti-Indoctrination and she’d written a response to it and that she wanted me to hear it. I was like, cool beans, gave her my number and asked her to send it to me on Whatsapp.

She sent it to me on Whatsapp.

And I.



She wrote a poem and spoke it with music playing in the background and crude though it may have been given the limited resources, I felt at that moment that it was the best thing I had ever heard in my life. She was sixteen years old (she’s seventeen now) – and then I began freaking out about how brilliant she was and how kindred! Why? Well, I’d written Anti-Indoctrination when I was sixteen years old! (I’m eighteen now.)

In my freaking out, I hit up my manager immediately and told him he had to listen to this! Of course, he thought I was exaggerating because admittedly, I freak out pretty easily, whereas he is one of the most difficult-to-please people I have ever met. But to my utter surprise…he freaked out too! To the extent that he told me to ask her if she wanted to record it at studio quality.

So one day early in August, we went to a recording studio. Bae, AKA Reynolds ‘TheGentleMan’ did a fantastic live rendition of the same music he had composed and used in the original Anti-Indoctrination. And now it’s released, free for everyone to listen to and be amazed by this gem who should be more famous than me. For real.

If you haven’t listened to Anti-Indoctrination, I advise you do that before you listen to To Her, because as much as Boham’s poem can stand alone, it has a lot of references to mine.

Here’s To Her.

And here’s Anti-Indoctrination.

Boham, if you’re reading this (and even if you aren’t), I love you, and you made my life!


Akotz’ Summer Highlights 2016

Yo, yo, yo, it’s been a while! But I’ve been crazy tired, crazy jetlagged, crazy overwhelmed and just generally crazy. So now that I’m in college, I can say with certainty that my summer is officially over. So I thought I’d do a recap of the highlights. I was lazy about this in 2015 and 2014. As a matter of fact, there is still a highlight from 2014 that I haven’t posted yet because quite frankly, I’m horrible.

So, in no particular order, here goes.


If you didn’t know (for which you should be ashamed), my record label, Vision Inspired Music, released 3 songs each month for May, June and July. Bangers included. My own spoken word song included. So I’m going to list them all out and if you didn’t manage to catch these tunes when they came out, this is your chance.



I honestly think this was by far the funnest day of my entire summer. I went out with cool people! @EDWVN, @TrueCoaster, @_Owiredua_, @Chelsea_AO. And Kobby Graham, @S_Tage and @TheDzfa made guest appearances.

I loved the exhibition so much! The artworks were amazing, and there was a particularly creepy projection in the corner of the wall. But the explanations for the collections made everything like 10 times cooler.

I didn’t know who Zohra Opoku was before the exhibition but now I’m super happy that I do!





Maame is an ex-classmate. I thought the local-dish brunch she had was really cool, and particularly useful for me because I knew it would probably be a long time before I saw my ex-classmates again. Maybe never again. I also hadn’t seen them in a while because I kind of boycotted just about all pre-graduation events because I couldn’t freaking be bothered. But now I have some pictures to serve as memories. (Cue running joke about how I Wasn’t In The Pictures but then I was.)



Do you know who Cina Soul is? No? Well, go and find out, la!

Well, this summer, she released an EP called Metanoia, and it means something along the lines of a transformative growth. Believe me, I did not know this word until she used it as her title, and yes, for you trolls, there are words I don’t know.

She had a listening session, which I went to, where a small number of people debated on the pre-mastered and mixed tracks, then the launch, which was a slight performance of part of each song, at Kristal in Osu.

Photo by Gerard Nartey

Then there was the big concert at Alliance Francaise, which was a success despite slight technical hitches. LOL. And yes…I was in another picture.

Photo by @niikotei



This was the last fun thing I did before I left the country. It was cool. On Adomeezy’s birthday, she premiered her new music video, 3 Years From 30 (3YF30 – and yes, are you wondering, like me, if VI Music is going to make this distin a trend? Like IWITP, 3YF30?)

I was on an emotional low the whole day so I was clinging extra-obnoxiously to Tronomie, and some photographers captured that. But also, Meffstone was there, and she did the singing again and Tronomie did his signature “Oh-oh”, without which I can barely stand the song, LOL. Once again, cue joke about how IWITP but then I was.

Also, GO AND BUY ADOMAA MERCHANDISE AND ALSO BUY THE VISION INSPIRED MIXTAPE BECAUSE THERE’S COOL STUFF ON IT! Hit @OfficialVIMusic up on any social media platform to order, because it would make me happy and you’ll enjoy it, please and thank you!



I went for this with Souza (Ghana’s best graphic designer, please and thank you), and Ekko (Ghana’s best CEO/personal manager, please and thank you).

Honestly, there was some pretty weird stuff around… But then there was also really cool stuff. Especially the huge paintings done with engine oil! I forgot his full name but I think there’s a Jonathan somewhere in there.



I tweeted this already but Odunsi is my new crushhhh! I basically didn’t know who he was until I saw his production credits for the previously mentioned Cina Soul’s song, Julor. And I liked that. But then I heard his whole EP, Time Of Our Lives, AKA “TOOL”, and I met him in person and I think he’s a really fantastic person in reality. I followed him on Twitter and I think that is one of the best decisions I have ever made because his passion is so visible and just energizes me whenever I see his tweets.



For those of you who didn’t know, I was nominated for Best Blogger (again) for the Ghana Blogging Awards in 2016. I don’t know who nominated me but thank you! I didn’t publicize it because I knew how it was going to go. Every time Ameyaw Debrah is in this category, you know how it’s going to go. I think you know how it went. (Duh, I didn’t win.) That said, I’m not even sure whether I even qualify for the category of best blogger in the whole Ghana, so I keep getting confused about how I keep getting shortlisted even. But attending the ceremony (for free because of this reason) is fun and so I’m not complaining…much.

I went with Adomeezy! And Cina Soul performed. Also, Poetra Asantewa and 100% really killed it with their poem about Social Media for Dummies. I love them so much! Watching them perform makes me happy. And inspired.

photo by threesixtyGh



This really cool organization called threesixtyGh (you should follow them) turned 2 this year! And they invited me to perform, so I kind of opened the ceremony with two spoken word pieces. I don’t feel like telling which ones they were. But one of them is on Youtube, so maybe you want to conduct a search for “Akotowaa” now? Yes? No? Okay.

But in addition to the celebration of its birthday, it also launched its second writer’s challenge which I ended up semi-judging, or “reading” for. At the end of it all, I attended the awards ceremony, and I must say, the top three finalists, and especially the winner, @Akyempo‘s writing greatly impressed me. All three stories are on the 360GH website now. I suggest you read them. Especially this one.



A spoken word group/collective called Poetic Justice Society, seemingly spearheaded by one of my crushes, Gospel, launched their latest project called Let’s Write The Future. I love the intention of the theme, which is to combat prejudices and stereotypes. I can’t wait to see where they take them. I performed here too, and that was fun. The downside, I believe, was that the program started abysmally late. Unfortunately, I don’t think I have any pictures of this one. (Cue running joke about how IWITP) This is particularly unfortunate because I was wearing this bomb sweater-dress from @Afro_Volf. 😦 And now I don’t have pictures of me performing in it.



Nana Yaw Sarpong had been pressurizing me to go on for a while. And I wasn’t minding him. LOL. In the end, it really wasn’t him I gave into, but @TrueCoaster. I went on the show one Sunday with her and @amoafoa_. It was fun. I think what people enjoyed most was our discussion about the dynamics between pidgin and “proper” English. Probably even more than the poems and stories we read. But y3 b3 fa no saa.



Attention! In case you didn’t know, I am entirely in awe of Poetra Asantewa and I think she’s a superhero and #goals and I want to be like her when I grow up. Or…like…now. I wouldn’t mind being (like) her now.

Poetra and Chill was particularly cool because she performed with a live band (Musical Lunatics), did lots of throwbacks, and original things and just made me happy with her hybrid combinations of music and poetry. She’s such a versatile performer and all-round woman and chale…it was great. As with every show, there were some technical difficulties and such, but it was such a great experience.

Highkey, I want to get to that point where she’s at, where you have your own solo show, and so many people show up that the small room you had is overpacked. That was impressive. 🙂


1 ON 1 WITH 100%

You people won’t mind me when I talk, but I honestly believe that 100% is the best spoken word performer Accra has ever seen. And somehow he’s also the most underrated. It’s confusing because he’s won the Ehalakasa grand slam twice and I feel like so many people should know his name by now but you people are lazy in your stalking. (And maybe he needs to up his social media marketing game as well but…) Guys, when he releases his spoken word album, which he is currently preparing, I will hype the ish out of that ish.

Yeah, so he had a solo show, which I believe far more people should have attended, but it was good nonetheless. And I performed! I did a poem which you can also find a live performance of on Youtube if you search my name, and I did a rendition of IWITP (I’ve mentioned IWITP so many times in this blog post) with my bestie, Tronomieeeeee!



I love Rainmakers! Their open mic sessions happen the first Saturday of every month but because of school, I can usually only attend a handful of them. But I went for all three months that I could. In June, the atmosphere was pretty calm, and I did a lot of experimentation, performing things that I’d never performed before in front of crowds.

In July, OMG. I met this fantastic girl called Boham. She made my life. So she watched Anti-Indoctrination on Youtube and she said she was so inspired that she wrote a response spoken word to it. And I tell you, the response is better than my poem. I think she should be more famous than me. It was insanely cool! I can’t wait for everyone to hear it, if/when it gets publicly released. We went to a recording studio a few weeks ago, and it’s been done with TheGentleMan producing live, and it’s on the Vision Inspired Mixtape, so that’s more reason for you to order that ish as indicated in some above paragraph. Anyway so Boham came for Rainmakers and we did both our poems, mine and her response.

Also, Meffstone and Tronomie came so we all did IWITP together and honestly? Tronomie’s “Oh-oh!” freaking stole the night.

I didn’t perform in August, but Nana Kwame read a poem dedicated to me and I was like awwwwwwww! ❤ Dude, if you’re reading this, I love you!



My first official radio interview, yaaaay! I was nervous but I think it went well. 🙂 We were interviewed by Prince Benjamin on Class 91.3 FM and he was a pretty cool radio host. They played all of our Triple Treat Tuesday songs for that month. This Morning, A Fading Dream, and of course, IWITP.

I feel like I’d be a better radio host than guest but whatever, right?




I couldn’t possibly be more impressed by the proactive teenagers, @Xo_Adwoa_ and Abena Danquah, both younger than me but apparently more driven with more clearly defined life goals than me. What, me, jealous? Where? Pshhht. *breaks down inside*

They organized this entire conference, and the guest speaker/resource person was @KinnaReads, a brilliantly unapologetic woman and reader I greatly admire. It was very interactive, we had a wonderful discussion and I think stuff like that should be more common. I was surprised about how often the issue of the term “feminist” being viewed in a negative light came up, but whatever, man. You either deal with it or you don’t – it’s your own wahala.

So yeah. My summer 2016 was pretty lit, right? I know. 🙂


MISEDUCATION : “National History”

I am (and you are) going to love this series.

As Told By Amoafoa

September 9


Today we learnt about the Yaa Asantewaa War. I liked the story very much. Yaa Asantewaa kind of reminds me of my sister. I nearly said that out loud at dinner earlier, but I hit my mouth. And thank Jesus I did – Papa would have been furious. Just like Teacher was when Esaaba raised her hand to say that women were stronger than men. I had thought it was obvious, but Teacher became so angry and said unkind things. Well I thought they were unkind, maybe even untrue.

He said that women could never be stronger than men, and then proceeded to demonstrate with us and to us. First, he asked all the girls in the class to stand. Then he told all the boys to look at the girls, and weren’t they weak even standing there? Then he asked all the boys to stand and…

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People like us have managed to convince ourselves that we were meant to be alone. We have isolated ourselves from the rest of humanity, believing that there is no one else like us.

We consider isolation some perverse way of protecting ourselves. Avoiding asking “what are we trying to shield ourselves from?” The paradox of loneliness? The heartbreak that comes with the realization that someone we placed all our faith in was not our ideal, fairytale Saviour in the end?

We make futile attempts to build walls between ourselves and others, when we fear that they will not accept us.

People like us are powerful because we are the best liars; the kind that deceive themselves first. Yet our actions betray us when we reach out, and reach out again for a sign of comfort from the people we have so carefully pushed away. Our dependence is a self-induced disease, from which no one can save us.


My Thoughts: The Kite Runner

Author: Khaled Hosseni

kite_runnerThis is a very highly acclaimed book. And I can see why. It’s also the third Khaled Hosseini book I’ve read – and as far as I know, he only has 3, so clap for me. Now that I’ve read all, I think it’s safe to say my favourite is And The Mountains Echoed, even though The Kite Runner appears to be his most famous.

Hosseini has interesting, and perhaps very unique storytelling skills. I love the way he tells his stories, and that placates me when his characters are annoying me to death. I like that the main character of the story (Amir) was not the title character (Hassan, also known as The Kite Runner), and so it’s difficult to tell if the story was about Amir, Hassan, or both.

I also like how Amir, the person through whom the story was told, was not flat. We got to see his growth in character as he grew in age and how he reacted to a lot of things unravelling. (You might not understand, but the word “unravelling” here is a triple entendre I am proud of.) Hassan was very flat. It was an act of wisdom not to tell the story through him.

This book took me a relatively short time to go through. It was engaging and the language, though not entirely simple, was easy for me to breeze through. I think Hosseini just writes exactly in the way I find it comfortable to read – but the book felt very long. Why? Because of secrets and lies and plot twists abounding! Just when you’ve accepted what has happened and you think you understand how the story is going to go from then on, you realize suddenly that someone (sometimes you) has been duped.

When I finished this book, I said I was emotionally tired, and I meant it. While I read, I wailed nearly incessantly to my mother about all the twists, whenever she was within earshot.

I have something (not really a spoiler) to say about the end: it was not a conclusion. It was more like a roller coaster evening out into an ordinary road.

Somewhere in my heart, I know that this book was heavy. It’s just that…after reading A Thousand Splendid Suns, I know what heavy really is, and so I can’t complain about this.

But yes, it’s a great book, and a fantastic debut novel – so I’d recommend it.

My favourite quote:

“With me as the glaring exception, my father molded the world around him to his liking. The problem, of course, was that Baba saw the world in black and white. And he got to decide what was black and what was white. You can’t love a person who lives like that without fearing him too. Maybe even hating him a little.”


Playlists I’ve Been Featured On

To be very honest, I am amazed and humbled to even have a post like this to write!

Just in case you didn’t know (I make myself extremely stalk-worthy but perhaps by some mysterious magic, you missed it), I dropped a spoken word song called IWITP in June. And since then it’s featured on at least 3 mixes I want to share particularly because the other things it is surrounded by are fantastic.

  1. Kpodola’s Alpha playlist


If you love Ghanaian spoken word and are looking for a hub where you can find a concentration of content, Kpodola is where to go. You can follow them on Instagram, Twitter, and like them on Facebook.

The Alpha playlist is a mix of spoken word that Kpodola believes deserves to be heard. Of course, it is nothing close to exhaustive of the good stuff out there, but first of all, I believe this is the first of many to come, and secondly, you might find some more stuff you like from related tracks and such. I am proud and humbled (paradox?) to have IWITP represented on this playlist.

Here’s the link to The Alpha PlaylistThe Alpha Playlist

2. Unorthodox Reviews’ Holophonic Vol. 1 playlist

Even I have discovered people I didn’t know through this playlist. And as a lexivist, I must commend them for their interesting choice/coinage of name for this playlist. It sounds cool. Kudos!

I don’t know what it means that IWITP is the first song on the list, but I choose to be honoured by it. 🙂

Here’s the link to the Holophonic playlist: Holophonic Vol 1


3. Kobby Graham’s What I’m Feeling

I don’t know whether this counts as a playlist per se. It’s a compilation of songs my superhero, KOBBY GRAHAM, is vibing to right now. Dear Mr Graham, I am ABSOLUTELY HONOURED to be your adopted baby cousin! I’ve been declaring it proudly to anyone who would listen since I read it. THANK YOU!

Here’s the link to his post: What I’m Feeling.


Okay, that’s it. 🙂 Now go and enjoy good sounds. Thanks, bye.