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.
I received an ARC of A Change Is Gonna Come from Netgalley. This anthology is target audience are young adults of colour. The stories are written by authors of colour, are for readers of colour and features main characters of colour.
Marginalisations that are repped include: multiracial, Nigerian, brown, Jewish, Muslim, blind, OCD, anxiety.
Most of the stories in this book are #ownvoices in certain aspects.
One of the first things that struck me about this book is the intersectionality. The stories don’t just feature POC main characters. They show that it is possible to be marginalised in more than one aspect.
I enjoyed the variety of genres and writing styles. This book contains poetry and prose. There are fantasy, historical fiction, dystopian, and contemporary stories. This makes the book suitable for a classroom, since most students will be able to find a story written in the style/genre that they enjoy reading.
I just have one critique and that is that the narrator in the short story Hackney Moon tells the reader that they know that they are thinking of someone (in a romantic sense), which is a statement that assumes that everyone falls in love. This is aroantagonistic.
One of my favourite stories was We Who by Nikesh Shukla. It’s so powerful. The gender of the main character isn’t mentioned, neither is the gender of their best friend, who is slowly starting to have extreme right views. We only know that the MC is brown and the best friend is white. It’s amazing, because it portrays a situation that I’ve been in a lot, where you wonder whether your friendship is worth the hurt that you receive, when your friend starts to have an awful political opinion. Since the gender of the main character and their best friend isn’t mentioned, the reader might find it easier to imagine themselves in the main character’s situation. I think it’s a great story for teenagers and young adults to read. It doesn’t give the reader a solution, but it does show that this situation happens to many people, thus possibly showing the reader that they’re not alone, if this is happening or has happened to them.
I am multiracial and it was amazing to read some stories about young adults who were also multiracial. We aren’t main characters that often, so I was so happy about reading about similar experiences, even if I didn’t have the exact ethnicities that the main character had. It made me feel less alone.
The book also included a list of the sensitive topics that were the focus of several stories at the back of the book, thus giving people who need content warnings a possibility to check for them there. This is amazing! I was really happy about it.
A Change Is Gonna Come is an amazing anthology that is catered towards young POC. I thought it was wonderful. I wholeheartedly recommend that you read this book, and if you have older children (teens/young adults) or work with older children (i.e. in a library, at a school, etc.), I recommend getting this book for them.
It’s a book that I would have loved to have as a teenager. I am 25, thus older than the target audience, and this book was still such an great source of strength for me. It was an empowering read.
Trigger warnings: death of parent, Islamantagonism, ableism in respect to OCD, racism, homoantagonism, mention of a terrorist attack, mention of a refugee situation, aroantagonism (not called out).
Are you interested in reading A Change Is Gonna Come? What books have empowered you?