Even When Your Voice Shakes

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Pub Date 15 Feb 2022 | Archive Date 31 Jan 2022
W. W. Norton & Company, Norton Young Readers

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A young woman speaks out against her wealthy abuser in this riveting YA novel from one of Ghana’s most celebrated children’s book authors.

When Amerley is offered a job working for one of her mother’s old school friends, she knows she has to accept. Her wages will feed her family, help her sisters stay in school, and ensure that her mother won’t have to worry about them. Amerley’s move to Accra isn’t easy, but she soon settles into her new life away from her small village—until she is raped by the son of her employer. Torn between keeping quiet to keep her job and speaking up for herself and for justice, Amerley must decide how to live her truth, and the impact of her choice will be felt through her entire community.

Through the life of an ordinary girl from a small country village, Even When Your Voice Shakes exposes the damage wrought by institutionalized misogyny and poverty and reveals how even those who are most disadvantaged are never without their own power.

About the Author: Ruby Yayra Goka is a dentist and a writer from Ghana. Six of her young adult books have received CODE Burt Literary Awards for Young Adult Literature. She lives in Accra.

A young woman speaks out against her wealthy abuser in this riveting YA novel from one of Ghana’s most celebrated children’s book authors.

When Amerley is offered a job working for one of her...

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EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781324017110
PRICE $18.95 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

Even When Your Voice Shakes is a gorgeous young adult novel with something older readers can take away, too. Ruby Yayra Goka writes in a literary way that explores identity, expands characters, and invites us to consider. A story well worth sharing in a classroom or school library.

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This was an incredibly moving story of a family's circumstances in the slums of a village in Ghana, which change when the eldest daughter has the opportunity to work as a live-in maid for a wealthy relative. The author gives voice to cultural traditions and the culture shock that occurs when there are different values, communication styles, and even a discrepancy in how one is treated depending on social class. Things come to a head when Amerley is sexually assaulted, and there is an attempt to hide the crime. The author does not shy away from the grim realities of how her rape is viewed by various people and the cruel things that are done to her. The story ends on a hopeful note, with an emphasis to speak out and see justice carried through.

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Even When Your Voice Shakes had me in tears, both because some of the experiences our protagonist endures are heartbreaking and painful AND because the writing, Amerley, and the ending are so poignant and powerful. Goka creates an immersive and captivating narrative in which Amerley experiences some horrific things and must choose her course of action - she must decide how to best care for herself, for her family, for her future, her safety, and her community. Set in Ghana, Even When Your Voices Shakes was a quick read for me and I was immediately ensconced in Amerley's world. It's a relatively concise book, and Goka is a very skilled writer. The prose is beautiful and effective, and all of those things made it thoroughly un-put-down-able! Thank you so much to the publisher and NetGalley for this advance copy. I will definitely be recommending this to the educators and library specialists I work with, and can't wait to read more from Ruby Yayra Goka!

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