The stories covered a wide range of people. It doesn’t cover every single marginalized group, but it does a decent job of what it covers.
What makes this anthology a standout are the subtle, yet powerful acts of resistance. Each teenager faced adversity and though they were afraid, they didn’t back down in the face of it. I think it’s important for young readers to see that their stories matter. That they have a right to stand up for themselves. They have a right to have a voice and to use it.
Some stories touched me more than others. Jason Reynolds’, ‘Shift,’ was an almost lyrical poem that will go over your head if you don’t pay close attention—but it’s meaning is powerful. Are you The Good kind of Muslim? by Samira Ahmed, it wasn’t very long, but it had a loud resonating voice. Aurora Rising by Yamile Saied Mendez, had me squinting at the pages in anger, but it has an ending that was worth waiting for. As You Were Bethany C. Morrow, was an eye-opening realistic portrayal of racism. It showed the true-to-life affects police brutality has on the psyche of black people. It doesn’t harp on black pain, but more on the right to refute the power of racism. The right to say no and to stand strong in the presence of racism. A beautiful and evocative piece of literature.
The anthology is put together well and would make a great addition to any young reader’s shelf. Highly recommended.