Title: Run, Rebel
Author: Manjeet Mann
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction/Books in Verse
Number of Pages: 496
Run, Rebel is one of the best YA ‘books in verse’ I’ve ever read- up there with The Poet X. The writing flows, the main character is memorable, and her character arc is both plausible and empowering. The heroine (Amber) is a teenage girl living with illiterate immigrant parents who escapes her violent home life through running. Her dad is abusive and she and her mom live in constant fear of his blow-ups.
Her sister got into an arranged marriage and now distances herself from Amber, even though they used to be really close. Amber is frustrated and angry and takes it out on other people, but underneath all that is a girl who wants to do right by her family and the other people she cares about. When she starts teaching her mom to read so her dad won’t have as much control over her, it’s a profoundly dangerous decision that changes both their lives forever.
Amber was a well-developed character with significant flaws who is scared of her father but willing to stand up to him to protect her mother. Her mother’s character was also really well-developed and you got a good sense of why she’d been trapped in an abusive relationship for so long. Usually YA parents are pretty weakly developed but Amber’s mom was an exception.
I actually felt like I had just as good a sense of who she was as I did with Amber and I enjoyed seeing her really coming into her own and creating a new life for herself. I will say that this book paints a very negative portrait of Amber’s culture so some people might not like it for that reason.
Amber’s brother-in-law is a good man but the situation Amber and the other women in her life find themselves in is ruled by rigid patriarchal standards. This book definitely shows what happens when women in a family aren’t given any power, and many people will relate to Amber’s struggles to get out of an abusive situation.