Book Review: A Change is Gonna Come (by lots of awesome YA authors)

* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

Publisher: Stripes Publishing

Pages: 384

Release Date: August 10th 2017

Summary (from Goodreads):

Featuring top Young Adult authors alongside a host of exciting new talent, this anthology of stories and poetry from BAME writers on the theme of change is a long-overdue addition to the YA scene. Contributors include Tanya Byrne, Inua Ellams, Catherine Johnson, Patrice Lawrence, Ayisha Malik, Irfan Master, Musa Okwonga and Nikesh Shukla.

Plus introducing four fresh new voices in YA fiction: Mary Bello, Aisha Bushby, Yasmin Rahman and Phoebe Roy.

Review:

I loved Stripes’ last YA anthology and was super excited for this one. It’s such a great idea and I was excited to read short stories from authors I already like (Catherine Johnson, Patrice Lawrence) and discover ones I don’t yet know, including four brand new authors who I’m sure I’ll be reading more of in future.

I wrote little comments on Goodreads as I read and will embellish on these for each story for my review:

The Elders on the Wall by Musa Okwonga

First poem was excellent, really moved me. It really captured how I see society a lot these days, with the generation above looking down on us, saying we don’t work hard enough when there’s a lot of factors working against us.

Marionette Girl by Aisha Bushby

A great story from a new writer about a Harry Potter fan with OCD. It packed a punch and I wished it didn’t end, I wanted more!

Astounding Talent! Unequalled Performances! by Catherine Johnson

A lovely story about true family – I love Catherine Johnson’s writing.

Hackney Moon by Tanya Byrne

A unique voice and a lovely LBGT romance with a happy ending 🙂

We Who? by Nikesh Shukla

Such a powerful story, I can relate to this one. Had so many similar Brexit arguments with racist people spouting crap. It tackles how hard it can be to maintain what was a good friendship when you have opposing views.

The Clean Sweep by Patrice Lawrence

Enjoyed that but think I need a second read to completely get it. I love Patrice Lawrence’s writing and the characters she creates.

Iridescent Adolescent by Phoebe Roy

That was a weird little story, very beautiful and poetic.

Dear Asha by Mary Bello

A very emotional story about death and family. Bought a tear to my eye, and the setting was so vivid and beautiful.

A Refuge by Ayisha Malik

A girl helps out in a refugee camp and befriends a girl there. A great story with a sad but hopeful ending

The Unwritten Future of Moses Mohammad Shabazz Banneker King by Irfan Master

Gotta love a bit of time of travel! Stuck out as something very different in this anthology and I really enjoyed it.

Fortune Favours the Bold by Yasmin Rahman

Loved this, probably my favourite of the collection. Great commentary on the way Muslims are treated after a terrorist attack: the idea that they should have to defend themselves or show they disapprove of the actions of a few who are using Islam’s name to do terrible things seems absurd to me, but that’s how a lot of people react.

Of Lizard Skin and Dust Storms by Inua Ellams

A wonderfully evocative poem that finished off the anthology perfectly.


Diversity is being discussed a lot in publishing at the moment, but discussing it isn’t enough, and I love that Stripes has taken action and produced this wonderful anthology. It just goes to show how many talented and varied voices are out there, and that there’s an audience wanting to read their stories.

There was something inspiring about this book, and from the title, the foreword and right down to the closing poem, I was hooked. It covers a range of topics and genres, and there’s a great list of useful links for help and research. This is a book I’ll be recommending to everyone, and I hope you pick it up and enjoy it.

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