Review: A Change Is Gonna Come by 12 BAME Authors!

*Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

We’ve been hearing non-stop buzz about this book since Stripes Publishing’s first YA Blogger event in February. Now, it’s finally here and we couldn’t be more excited to see the final product getting so much love and attention! If you didn’t know A Change is Gonna Come is an anthology of short stories and poems based on the theme of change, all written by black and minority ethic authors. There are some big names, like Patrice Lawrence and Ayisha Malik, but also some debut authors getting their first break!

As if that isn’t cool enough, the anthology also has diverse characters too, representing lesbian and non-binary identities, as well as OCD.

We thought we’d share our thoughts on our favourite stories!

Hackney Moon by Tanya Burne tells the story of Esther and her best friend Sam who pulls away when their peers taunt them for being lesbians.

The narration style is really unique, with a sort of direct address but not from either of the main characters, so it’s got this almost fairy-tale vibe! We loved the dialogue particularly, and the friendship group is one we would love a companion series about!

We Who? by Nikesh Shukla (*our absolute favourite*) is set after the UK vote Leave, and the main character struggles when his best friend starts to post harmful new stories, which expose that they have incredibly different political views that become destructive to their friendship.

It was quite a shock when ‘Leave’ was announced as the decision the UK had made regarding our position in the EU, and it upset so many people that this story is probably the most powerful and relatable in the whole collection. It’s difficult to watch the people around you, who you previously trusted and loved, repeating ideologies that are damaging and down right untrue. The disconnect you experience to those you once considered friends when something like this exposes your fundamental and uncompromising differences, is something I think we’re more likely to experience in this political climate. And not just in the UK, but the world.

Iridescent Adolescent by Phoebe Roy about a girl who sprouts feathers and longs to be hollow.

We adored the writing style of this story, it was magical and mystical. It’s not often that I connect to writing that is poetic in this way, but it also had some real down-to-earth moments that made it a lot – not relatable, per say, but something along those lines. It felt like a fresh take on the ‘Change’ theme, and was a real gem among other contemporary stories.

Dear Asha by Mary Bello is about Asha who’s mother recently died and so she goes to Nigeria to connect with her remaining family. She then hears some pretty dramatic news about her father that throws everything into a new light.

We really loved the setting in this and the emphasis on Nigeria culture. It was so cool that although being of that descent, Asha wasn’t really connected to it, and so witnessing her get in touch with her roots was great. This was also a short story that had a lot going, so could easily have been made into a full length novel!

A Refugee by Ayisha Malik is about a girl who is forced to volunteer at the a refugee camp by her parents and develops a strong friendship with one of the girls there, Homa.

This was such a powerful story about different experiences and how we need to open our eyes to the hardships of other people and help out where we can. The fact that Ayisha Malik managed to write such intense character development in such a short story was astounding!

Fortune Favours the Bold by Yasmin Rahman is mostly about a Muslim girl who decides to start wearing a headscarf, which splits her apart from her twin sister and also means she’s subjected to more religious prejudice.

Again, we loved the storytelling. It was a very accomplished short story, and the character had a great sense of voice. We’re really excited to see what Yasmin Rahman will produce next, because I hope she becomes a new big name for YA fiction. After this, I predict she will be a new auto-buy author, and to feel that strongly about an author’s capability to continually make me feel SO MANY THINGS just speaks to how wonderful this very short glimpse of her writing was.

Overall, A Change Is Gonna Come is a really powerful anthology that It think everyone needs to read. It exposes some fresh talent, whose careers I can’t wait to follow, and raises the voices of those who are underrepresented in the best way possible.

Review: Sunny Side Up by Holly Smale

27209626Sunny Side Up (Geek Girl #4.5) by Holly Smale
Published by: HarperCollins
Pages: 224
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★★
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Another Geek Girl book, you say? This is the best news ever! Sunny Side Up is the second Geek Girl special, and takes place between All That Glitters and Head Over Heels. In the first short story collection, All Wrapped Up, we got to see more of Harriet and Nick’s relationship outside of the modelling world. In this one, however, we jump head first into Harriet’s modelling adventures as she conquers Paris Fashion Week! Here’s everything we loved about Sunny Side Up, and why it’s one of the best short stories around!  Continue reading “Review: Sunny Side Up by Holly Smale”

Preview Review: My True Love Gave To Me Anthology

My True LoMy True Loveve Gave To Me Anthology
Contemporary, Romance, Anthology
Published By: Macmillan Children’s
Pages: 320
Format: ARC E-Book
Rating: ★★★★★
Where to Find:
Goodreads | Amazon

From the two stories I’ve read from this anthology, I can just say that October 14th could not come fast enough. In the excerpt given, I got the chance to read Rainbow Rowell’s and Stephanie Perkins’ editions to the holiday short story collection, ‘My True Love Gave To Me’.

I’m guessing, because they’re romantic stories, the main characters get a kiss, but I’m hoping that someone gets six geese.

There’s nothing I love more than a good holiday themed short story. I read ‘Let it Snow’ by Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle and John Green last year and loved how the stories were all interwoven. However, with this collection I’m expecting the stories not to be connected. (12 authors in contact at the same time about their characters? A dream come true, though highly unlikely.)

I imagine the culmination of these stories happened in a boardroom, similar to ‘The Apprentice’, with Stephanie Perkins at the head of the table, delegating work to her eleven author elves that must churn out stories for Christmas.

So, Rainbow Rowell’s story was obviously written by Rainbow Rowell. There’s definitely not some Christmas ghostwriter out there, dictating what the authors write. In a similar style to ‘Landline’, the story takes place through flashbacks to previous New Year’s Eve parties. We get to see the friendship between Mags and Noel as it develops from just acquaintances to please-be-mine-forever lovers. It was adorable. I love it when a story line is quite circular, where things that were planted, earlier on in the story, grow into something constant and recurring. This was also the shorter of the two stories, but because it takes place over three years, it feels a lot longer. Heck, I would have been happy to read about Mags’ and Noel’s New Year’s Eve parties for a whole novel. Can that happen?

As for Stephanie Perkins’ edition to the anthology, I was equally impressed. It held her usual romantic and humorous style within fewer pages and managed to deliver a very satisfying story that gave my cheeks a warm glow. I loved that the main character, Marigold, and her mother were struggling with their bills and general living – it’s nice to see that these issues and real life situations are still being dealt with in short stories. Even though these stories are romantic, they are not romanticized.

Marigold and North were both adorable characters, on par with Anna and Etienne. Perkins’ characters are so quirky and loveable it’s hard not to enjoy whatever she writes.

I need more short stories from this collection ASAP. These ladies have definitely set the standards high and have done what they do best. It looks like my true love gave to me a five star book.