Cover Image: A Change Is Gonna Come

A Change Is Gonna Come

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Member Reviews

A Change is Gonna Come is a YA anthology written by both new and established BAME authors based on the theme of change – each author approaching the theme differently.  I had heard so many brilliant things about this anthology but the hype is to be believed.

While there has been active discussions and campaign for more diverse books and voices in YA, I do feel like UK publishing is still overwhelmingly white and straight, especially compared to USYA. A Change is Gonna Come is full of dynamic and captivating stories that are definitely needed on the UKYA scene, and hopefully paves the way for more stories by BAME authors.

Some of my favourite stories from A Change is Gonna Come include Hackney Moon by Tanya Byrne, Fortune Favours The Bold by Yasmin Rahman, Marionette Girl by Aisha Bushby, and We Who? by Nikesh Shukla. I feel like We Who? is an extremely relevant and extremely important story for the modern British teenager. The story focuses on a friendship that has started to fall apart after post-Brexit racial tensions. It’s powerful and truthful. Aisha Bushby’s story Marionette Girl is about Amani, a young girl who suffers from OCD who adheres to a strict routine. Yasmin Rahman’s story highlights the Islamophobia Muslims face in Britain, especially in the aftermath of a terrorist attack and follows an anxious Muslim girl called Zaibah as she tries to navigate this.

But, my favourite story of them all is Hackney Moon by Tanya Byrne – an exquisite story following Esther, a Guyanese-British girl who we follow as she goes through her first heartbreak with her girlfriend, and then a new found love. We follow this story through the eyes and narration of the Moon, which made this story all the more wonderful.

Overall, I would highly recommend A Change is Gonna Come because it is an inclusive and important anthology full of original and exquisite stories.
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Love the cover and loved the stories! I thought the collection delivers on its promise of bringing something fresh to the YA scene. There are a lot of issues covered in this anthology that have not even been touched upon yet, and I was happy to find them represented in tasteful, enjoyable ways. Looking forward to what the authors' next steps are, would love to pick up their longer works! Highly recommended for those looking for well done diversity in a YA anthology.
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A Change is Gonna Come, an anthology of young adult authors, is probably the most important book I'll read all year.

"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."

If you looked up intersectionality in the dictionary, this book should come up as a definition. This once again confirms my belief that boundaries are being pushed in Young Adult more than in any other genre. I was blown away by the multitude of identities and intersectionalities that were presented in this anthology. Obviously, as I did not share most of them, I cannot say how accurate they were - though the anxiety rep in the first story was absolutely spot on, in my opinion. The majority of the stories are own voices.

While I'm not going to talk about all of the stories in the collection, I have to say that Nikesh Shukla's story We Who was one of the highlights. In it, he talks about the realities of Brexit, and how voting has torn young friends apart. It explores the all-too-real concept that white people who voted Leave cannot understand why their friends of colour would feel betrayed by this decision. The white phrase of 'I'm not racist, but...' echoes throughout this story, and I could actually picture some of the people I know as the characters in this story. (This once again confirms Nikesh Shukla as one of my favourite authors and editors at the moment - he is so on the nose about racial issues today.) 

One of the things that I loved the most about this collection is that at the back of the book, there's a list of trigger warnings to go with each story. Obviously this works very well for a collection of short stories, but this could definitely be used in novels as well: trigger warnings for each chapter. This was a touch that truly highlighted the love and care that went into this collection. 

I can honestly say that I enjoyed every single one of these stories, as they truly represent what modern society is like today. Young Adult is where changes are happening, and I can't wait to see what all of these authors come up with next.
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#ChangeBook is the breath of fresh air the publishing industry needs right now. It’s a collection of short stories and poems from 12 BAME authors centred around the theme of ‘change’ - four of those authors are unpublished and ones to watch out for.

I bought this book because I think it’s important to send out a message to the publishing industry that we need more diverse books, more BAME authors. A bonus was the amazing stories inside, which were exactly what I was looking for - stories about cultures other to my own, that weren’t too focused on themes such as gang culture and violence. I loved that there’s a real selection of female BAME voices here, and I’d love to see more and more in future.

Every single story in here is absolutely fantastic, covering topics that are regularly in the media nowadays - mental health, grief, sexuality, gender, racism.

My absolute favourite story in here has to be Mary Bello’s Dear Asha, but I enjoyed every single story in it’s own right, and can’t wait to read more from these authors.

Get down to your nearest bookstore and grab a copy of #ChangeBook - you won’t regret it.
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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.
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I began reading A Change is Gonna Come and felt like something a little special was happening within the e-pages. Not that I’d ever completed an anthology before (in my head, it was pronounced anthropology, aka the study of humans), but I was excited none-the-less.

This is a highly enjoyable range of short stories by a mix of established and new BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) authors. Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me access to it in exchange for an honest review.
I’m struggling with this review. While I enjoyed the book and found many of the pieces successfully grabbed me, I just don’t feel like it provoked many thoughts other than “Oh, this is good.”

The four new YA voices introduced to us are Mary Bello, Aisha Bushby, Yasmin Rahman and Phoebe Roy, all of whom are welcome additions to the community. 

The stories range from Bushby’s Marionette Girl, about a teen whose life is controlled by her OCD to The Clean Sweep by Patrice Lawrence, where problem teens are sent to a the Truman Show style rehabilitation center.
Through all the worlds we’re taken, the overarching theme is change. It doesn’t come as a surprise – the publishing industry isn’t the most inclusive of industries. Written stories are the freest of media when it comes to creating characters. All it takes is words to make new worlds in our heads. Film, tv and photography don’t have such a simple luxury at hand. As someone who once worked on a short horror film, believe me – it takes a lot of work. Yet somehow this freedom doesn’t always translate to books. Many are written by cis white authors with straight white characters. Obviously not all, but it’s the general trend.

Thankfully, A Change is Gonna Come is a breath of fresh air. It provides many tales where my POC friends may see themselves in stories. This is exactly what we need. I’m not sure I’ve previously read the work of any of these authors – including the established contributors – but I’m glad Stripes Publishing chose to include each one.
Usually I wouldn’t do this, but I genuinely believe this to be a fantastic book and would recommend you read peoples thoughts on Twitter by searching #ChangeBook. It was the topic of discussion for last weeks #SundayYA chat. As an abled, cis, straight white person, I always have more to learn on diversity. The chat provided a good conversation, acting as a reminder of how vital inclusion and diversity is.
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Stripes Publishing have done it again with this anthology. A Change Is Gonna Come is an accomplished anthology with plenty to offer, to inspire and to think about. Highly recommended.
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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.

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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.

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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.

If you’re looking for a similar anthology geared towards an adult audience, try The Good Immigrant. The stories were great! All the stories in this anthology are non-fiction. Here is my review.

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).
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Very highly anticipated within the UKYA community, I was delighted when I was accepted for an early copy of this on NetGalley. A Change is Gonna Come is every bit as wonderful as I expected and so, so much more.

This anthology holds such a diverse collection of stories from a wonderful host of BAME writers, some already well known authors and some fantastic debuts. Covering topics such as bereavement, mental health, racism and sexuality there is so much to be garnered from reading this anthology. There really is something in here for everyone. Whether you are able to relate to one of the many brilliant characters and stories on a personal level or whether you learn something from reading this anthology, this is a book that should be read by people of all ages and backgrounds.

As is the case with any anthology I read, there were some pieces that I didn’t connect with as well as others but every piece in here is unique and I think everyone who reads it will find certain pieces that they connect with on a more deep, personal level. My favourites were Marionette Girl by Aisha Bushy and Hackey Moon by Tanya Byrne. Both of these stories were so delicately written and had me in tears by the end – they really are stand out pieces of fiction. I absolutely have to give a shout out to the following stories too which I thought were exceptionally powerful in their subject matter and their voice: We Who? by Nikesh Shukla, Dear Asha by Mary Bello, A Refuge by Aiysha Malik and Fortune Favours the Bold by Yasmin Rahman.

I certainly feel that this anthology gave me a lot to think about and consider and I am really excited to see what comes from this in the publishing world. I will certainly be keeping an eye out for future works from the authors involved.

This collection of stories is sure to provide many teenage readers with their first experience of seeing themselves represented in published fiction and that is very, very special.
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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.

Rating: ★★★★


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.

Rating: ★★★★


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.

Rating: ★★★


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.

Rating: ★★★★★


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.

Rating: ★★★★★


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!

Rating: ★★★


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.

Rating: ★★★★


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.

Rating: ★★★★


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.

Rating: ★★★★★


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!

Rating: ★★


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.

Rating: ★★★★


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.

Rating: ★★★★

 

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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?
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This book is a stunner! Twelve fresh, fun and beautifully written YA short stories by new and established BAME authors, written around the subject of change. 

I forgot how much I love short stories. The immediacy, the focus, the variety. I first fell in love with short stories reading Jon McGregor and then Lucy Wood’s Diving Belles. I loved them for the strength of their writing. Then I devoured anthologies, loving the way the format was like a party; a way to meet lots of different authors and voices and see who I’d like to stay in touch with. A Change Is Gonna Come is the best of both. It celebrates strong, beautiful, passionate writing. The stories are as diverse as their authors and I relished the time I spent with them. 

I have discovered new authors – ‘Marionette Girl’ by Aisha Bushby is a beautiful story of a teenaged girl living with severe anxiety, Yasmin Rahman writes of bravery and the confidence found from an inspirational role model, and Phoebe Roy’s ‘Iridescent Adolescent’ is stunning magical realism. I’ve read authors that are established but new to me – Nikesh Shukla’s ‘We Who?’ is a passionate and painful exploration of friendship struggling through the friction of post-Brexit racism. And I’ve enjoyed new work by authors I already loved – Tanya Byrne’s love story ‘Hackney Moon’ with it’s unusual narrative perspective and stunning writing held my heart.

A Change is Gonna Come is a showcase and a celebration of BAME voices. It has opened my eyes to other cultures, experiences and thoughts. It has inspired me to read more widely and further outside of my comfort zone. Because beauty and passion lay there and I want more.

Source – e-copy kindly sent for review by the publisher
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A Change is Gonna Come is an inclusive YA anthology that we should all be really excited about. 

It is so brilliant to see writers of so many varying (and intersecting) underrepresented identities being given such a strong platform. I was also very excited to be introduced to four exciting new writers, Mary Florenco Bello, Aisha Bushby, Yasmin Rahman and Pheobe Roy. I just hope the success of this and other anthologies such as The Good Immigrant and The Things I Would Tell You means that these new writers will have the opportunity to be published individually in future. 

Of course, the sheer existence of A Change Is Gonna Come is not the most exciting thing about this anthology. The breadth and depth of each of the original poems and short stories is wonderful; from Aisha Bushby’s touching exploration of the ableism people with fragile mental health often have to face from those closest to them to Yasmin Rahman’s inspiring tale of the everyday harassment weathered by strong Hijabi women. Nikesh Shukla’s genderless short story embodies one of the most important questions society faces today. If it’s ‘them’ vs. ‘us’, who does ‘us’ actually mean? How can people redress the racist boundaries that our drawn by media and politics with their own personal relationships?  Patrice Lawrence’s disturbing dystopian fusion of reality TV shame culture and class hatred stayed with me long after I finished the book. A Change Is Gonna Come is packed full of the voices and experiences of communities who simply invisible in the majority of mainstream publishing, let alone as protagonists. It was especially great to see so many characters of colour who are also LGBT* or neurodiverse. 

So, can we just take a minute to congratulate all the writers and everyone who made A Change Is Gonne Come a reality? It’s been said a thousand times but I will keep shouting until this conversation is no longer necessary: it is endlessly important for all to be reflected in the pages they read but this is even more vital for young readers. For this reason, I’m so glad this poignant, vibrant and energetic anthology specifically speaks to the YA community.
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I heard about the book on twitter and I got interested in it because of the title. The stories and poems are about a huge range of subjects like history or love and feelings. Everything really is extraordinary and moving. A real joy to read!
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A Change is Gonna Come is a collection of twelve fresh and wonderfully written stories and poems from a variety of new and established Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) authors. All the stories are centred around the topic of change in some way and focus on characters who are marginalised; whether that’s because of the colour of their skin,  their religious beliefs, disability or mental health issues.
The purpose of the book is “to represent and celebrate diverse voices and cultural identities” and it achieves this aim, no sweat.
As someone who reads a lot of YA, I found this collection of stories extremely refreshing. There is no doubt that the topics covered by Young Adult fiction are diversifying, but to discover a collection put together by a UK Publisher with so many wonderful authors from BAME backgrounds, who have “historically had their thoughts, ideas and experiences oppressed” made me a very excited reader indeed. And let's face it, you can't get much more taboo topics than racism, OCD, terrorism, sexuality and Islamophobia - all of which are covered within these pages.
So who are our contributors? There are some well-known favourites including Tanya Byrne (I was a big fan of For Holly – great title too…!) Patrice Lawrence (author of Orangeboy and newly released Indigo Donut which I am massively looking forward to reading) Ayisha Malik (Sofia Khan is Not Obliged) Irfan Master (Irfan is a new author to me but after researching him I am getting hold of a copy of his debut Out of Heart, pronto) alongside some fresh voices in fiction including Mary Bello, Aisha Bushby, Yasmin Rahman and Phoebe Roy.
Whilst I can honestly say there was not a single story that I didn't enjoy, some of my favourites were 'Marionette Girl' by Aisha Busby which tells the story of teenager Armani, who is suffering with OCD and finds her life dominated by the rituals she has to carry out on a daily basis. I also thoroughly enjoyed 'We Who' by Nikesh Shukla, which examines what happens when friends have differing (and upsetting) political views. It was an extremely powerful and thought-provoking story, which is particularly relevant to the situation we find ourselves in today. The other thing I found intriguing about this story is that the gender of the protagonist is never revealed, leaving you to draw your own conclusions and maybe even place yourself in the lead characters shoes which, in turn, has a really powerful effect.
I also thoroughly enjoyed 'Hackney Moon' by Tanya Bryne which I became more involved in than I think I have with any short story I've ever read before (it may have even caused me to shed a tear or two...sniff.)
'A Refuge' by Ayisha Malik was also a stand-out favourite and another one that broke my heart just a tiny bit. Sabrina represented many of today's teenagers and the relationship that she forged with refugee Homa was both sad yet heartening. 
I also really feel the need to mention Fortune Favours The Bold by Yasmin Rahman. This was one of the stories that made me stop and think more than any other. The fear that Zaibah felt after discovering there has been a terrorist attack and the way in which she was treated, purely because of her ethnic background, made me sad and extremely angry. Imagine how it must feel to have to feel fear like that because of someone else's actions; someone who only shares the same colour of your skin and nothing else. However the ending of this particular story was brilliant and had an striking message of hope (And I LOVED Mariam.) Ok, I've practically singled out ALL of the stories here, so I won't mention any more - but surely that just goes towards proving how brilliant they all were...!?
The other thing I liked about this anthology is how there was such a wide range of genres throughout all of the stories. You have romance, contemporary, fantasy, historical and even dystopian, providing a really good mix, meaning there's something that will appeal to everyone. Although targeted at YA readers, this anthology is something that could be appreciated by any reader of any age. Its collection of grounding, hard-hitting and empowering stories will appeal to everyone and above all else it will stop and make you think. And I mean really think. Some of the stories from this collection are still on my mind, despite finishing it a few days ago. I know for a fact that this is a book I will revisit countless times. I also think this should be a staple on any school library or classroom shelf.
The cover is eye-catching and I love the design. I personally would be drawn to this book and want to find out more about it if I saw it staring back at me from the shelf; it's bright, it's fun, it's bold and it's intriguing. 

A Change is Gonna Come has opened up my eyes to different worlds and made me think about some of the battles people of different ethnic origins, people with disabilities, anyone and everyone who may consider themselves 'different' from the norm, face every day of their lives. Yet at no point does this book come across as condescending, it subtly educates the reader and is one of the most thought-provoking books I have read in a long time. 
I really applaud Stripes Publishing for what they've done here by producing such a powerful and ground-breaking book. People are talking about A Change is Gonna Come already and the advance praise has been phenomenal. I predict big things...
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5 Words: A Change Is Gonna Come.

This is an absolutely fantastic collection, with something for everyone. I actually liked everything included, which is very rare for me when it comes to anthologies. My mind is blown by how good it was.
“We laughed over our difference then spent years bonding over things that made us the same.”
There is something within the pages to laugh at and cry at. There are authors new and established within the pages, it was great to read some familiar voices - I recognised Patrice Lawrence's story from her writing style - and I discovered some new-to me writers. The poems are beautiful and I read them each over and over. The stories are set across multiple genres and times, all linked by the theme of Change.

I think Marionette Girl may become my go-to story for when I need a cry, it is heart-breakingly excellent. It made me cry like a baby.

I hope that Stripes are going to continue with their wonderful anthologies, but I can't imagine where they will go next! I just know I can't wait to read more exceptional writers.
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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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Wonderful anthology by BAME authors for YA readers. The range of characters, and experiences held within this book mean that so many teenagers out there will be able to see themselves somewhere within this collection. Teen readers will better understand some of their peers, and will be desperate to know what happens next in these short stories, some of which have so much potential to be continued! It promotes empathy and insight and thoughtfulness and kindness. I will definitely be getting this for the school library I work in. I loved it and can't wait to see what my Hackney students make of it!
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This is a wonderful selection of short stories.  I do not usually enjoy short stories, but I did enjoy these..  The selection is so varied and seems to give an insight into a plethora of situations.  Excellent.
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4.5 stars

‘I run raging and so afraid/ Joyfully and terrifyingly uncaged.’ – The Elders of the Wall by Musa Okwonga


A Change Is Gonna Come feels like a revolution; authors and publishers standing up to say we will make a difference within literature, and bring to the forefront writers, characters, and concepts that are not being represented within books. This collection focuses on a multitude of ideas within its larger theme of ‘Change’ – cultural identity, diversity, racism, immigration, changes in outlook and ideas to name a few – and highlight just how important representation of different cultures, ethnicities, sexualities are. White and straight should not be the default and the world needs to realise that – education is the only way ignorance will be beaten and collections like these can only strengthen that education, and ultimately the realisation that people are people. The wonder of the human race is in our differences but we should never forget that at the end of the day we are all people and we are all equally worthy of respect and representation. This is another outstanding collection from Stripes Publishing and I highly recommend it to everyone who can get their hands on it. 

My favourites were: The Elders on the Wall by Musa Okwonga, Marionette Girl by Aisha Bushby, Astouding Talent! Unequalled Performances! by Catherine Johnson, Iridescent Adolescent by Phoebe Roy, and Dear Asha by Mary Bello.

The Elders on the Wall by Musa Okwonga – 5/5 stars. A powerful poem about cultural identity and forging your own path.

Marionette Girl by Aisha Bushby – 4.5/5 stars. Realistic OCD portrayal and the impact it can have on a sufferer and their family.

Astounding Talent! Unequalled Performances! by Catherine Johnson – 4.5/5 stars. This is based on a true story of a circus troupe and a young black man who went on to do great things.

Hackney Moon by Tanya Byrne – 4/5 stars

We Who? by Nikesh Shukla – 4/5 stars

The Clean Sweep by Patrice Lawrence – 3/5 stars

Iridescent Adolescent by Phoebe Roy – 4/5 stars. A young girl of Black and Jewish heritage, mysterious bronze feathers, a colour-changing necklace. Reality and mythology blended perfectly.

Dear Asha by Mary Bello – 4.5/5 stars. A moving story about a daughter coming to terms with her mother’s death and finding a home with relatives in Nigeria.

A Refuge by Ayisha Malik – 4/5 stars

The Unwritten Future of Moses Mohammad Shabazz Banneker King by Irfan Master – 4/5 stars

Fortune Favours the Bold by Yasmin Rahman – 4/5 stars

Of Lizard Skin and Dust Storms by Inua Ellams – 4/5 stars

‘Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.’ – James Baldwin
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