I received a copy of #ChangeBook from Netgalley and Stripes Publishing in returns for an honest review. A Change Is Gonna Come is an anthology of poetry and short stories of different genres specifically by BAME authors to shed light on the issues they have faced and also to bring those voices to forefront of the world of YA. I am structuring my review as mini reviews for each part of the anthology so let’s get into it…
The Elders On The Wall by Musa Okwonga:
I really enjoyed this little poem. It’s both nice to read but also quite hard hitting. It has some really iconic quotable moments like “Change is hard still, maintain the charge. They have the safety, But the bravery is all ours.” I really do love a good bit of poetry.
Marionette Girl by Aisha Bushby:
This had ALL the Potter references so it was great in that way. It focuses on Amani, who suffers with OCD and pans out her daily routine to us and how difficult the simple act of living is for her. It really opened my eyes to those kind of issues and really got me thinking. This one was probably the most hyped story I had seen so I was super excited to get to it. That being said, I think it ended too suddenly and the main thing (other than the OCD) that happens is something I simply couldn’t relate to.
Astounding Talent! Unequalled Performances! by Catherine Johnson:
A found this more Historical Fiction-esque story slightly more difficult to get into into but it looks at the idea of POC performing in a circus and also brought to light the idea that POC have existed in the UK for centuries (the story is set in the 1800s). I appreciated how in your face it was and how much it made me think of my own views of history.
Hackney Moon by Tanya Byrne:
This short story was stunning. It’s an LGBT look at how to find yourself. It follws Esther and is narrated by I think fate? It was so lovely to read. Byrne’s writing was so poetic and flowed beautifully through the instense drama of this tiny story. I really, really loved this one, it gave me butterflies.
We Who? by Nikesh Shukla:
Another story I adored. This seemed like something Shukla has wanted to write for a long time. It looks at what happens when your best friend starts supporting racist views when you are a POC. It made me ANGRY and it made me think and I just loved seeing it from an own voices POV.
The Clean Sweep by Patrice Lawrence:
I don’t think I really fully understood this one. I’m glad it was in the anthology though because it provided a great change of pace. It was dramatic and intense. I really need to read more Patrice Lawrence!
Iridescent Adolescent by Phoebe Roy:
This was a really nice but subtle account of pride and identity and how to find it. It looks at how your identity stretches beyond into your family and even beyond into your race. This one had really nice writing.
Dear Asha by Mary Bello:
I am a sucker for stories that revolve around mother/daughter relationships so I enjoyed this story a lot. It was an honest and inspiring look at grief and how it can effectively force you to grow up.
A Refuge by Ayisha Malik:
Another one of my favourites! This tells the story of Sabrina who befriends a refugee when she’s working for what I think is a charity. It shows us the fragility and fleeting nature of friendship. It packed and emotional punch and proved that life is too short even to enjoy the nice things in life.
The Unwritten Future of Moses Mohammad Shabazz Banneker King by Irfan Master:
I feel like this one kind of went over my head a bit but if you like time travel, it’s the story for you!
Fortune Favours The Bold by Yasmin Rahman:
This was a really interesting story revolving how terrorism is portrayed in the media. I really enjoyed the message and how much the protagonist takes from their family. This one felt like the most relevant/current in the anthology.
Of Lizard Skin and Dust Storms by Inua Ellams:
I really liked how the anthology started and ended with a poem. I really do enjoy poetry and the two in this anthology sparked me wanting to pick more up. It had really beautiful imagery and bought the anthology to a comfortable yet poignant end.
Overall, A Change Is Gonna Come is a massively important book. My eyes were first opened to the lack of diversity in publishing when I saw Angie Thomas and Nikesh Shukla talk in Bristol. It’s great to see a publisher like Stripes actually take some action and put together such an anthology to help the voices be heard. There was some really cracking material in here and I’m looking forward to seeing what some of the contributors do next.
Overall rating: ★★★★
Have you read #ChangeBook? If so, which was your favourite part of the anthology?
Thank you lovelies and happy reading! ox