Review: Run, Rebel by Manjeet Mann

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Goodreads | Waterstones

When Amber runs, it’s the only time she feels completely free – far away from her claustrophobic home life. Her father wants her to be a dutiful daughter, waiting for an arranged marriage like her sister Ruby.
Running is a quiet rebellion. But Amber wants so much more – and she’s ready to fight for it.
It’s time for a revolution.

It’s been a long time (I mean years) since I’ve read a book written in verse, and I don’t remember ever finding one that I really clicked with. But this one was so, so different. It was bold and hard hitting and full of hope. I loved it.

This feels like a strange thing to say, but I thought I would really feel as though I was reading verse. In a way that would drag me out of the story if I was always aware of it, but I found it so much more hard hitting and engaging than expected!

This book follows the story of Amber Rai, the daughter to two illiterate immigrant parents. Her father is abusive towards her mother, her sister Ruby has left home for an arranged marriage, and Amber is controlled by her family’s expectations for her. This means she is not allowed to do anything outside of school, including running track, and is expected to follow Ruby’s footsteps and have an arranged marriage herself.

Run, Rebel is the story of Amber’s relationship with her mother, slowly realising they can rebel. It’s the story of her friends, who Amber is jealous of because they are free to do whatever they please. It’s the story of her sister, Ruby, who is finding out who she is with a young daughter and in an arranged marriage. It is heart breaking, anger-inducing, but so full of hope. I adored it.

This was so tough to read, but I really appreciated the difficult conversations. I felt like I was learning, truly, how hard things were for Amber and her mother. Her heartache was so raw, open and honest. I couldn’t help but feel like I was right there with Amber and her suffering. I just wanted to root for her and her mother and see them rebel from such a broken home.

I also really appreciated some of the side-characters, especially the men. I found myself very grateful to have other men in relationships that offset the actions of Amber’s father. Especially Ruby’s husband and Amber’s friend David, who were both so supportive and lovely in their relationships.

I also love how this book centered around running. I’ve been running for around 6 months now and I could really relate to how Amber felt with how free running made her feel. The only small niggle I had was sometimes how Amber treated those around her – although I feel like it made her a very real and well-rounded character.

Overall, this was certainly a page-turner, and I read it in 2 sittings. It was so compelling and I couldn’t put it down. It broke my heart but left me feeling hopeful. I loved it, and I can’t wait to read more by this author!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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