ARC Review — I Rise

  • Title: I Rise
  • Author: Marie Arnold
  • Genre: YA Fiction
  • Pages: 320 pages
  • Publication date: August 2, 2022 

Thank you NetGalley for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair review!

I’ll start with my highest praise: I enjoyed this book more than The Hate U Give.

I Rise is about a teenager—Ayo—dealing with racism and social justice in Harlem. She just wants to relax and have a normal teenage life though. Her mom’s a huge activist and pushes that life onto her. But her mom’s activism comes at a cost, and Ayo’s world tumbles fast. Soon, she’s putting pieces of a scavenger hunt that her mom made for her together—without her mom.

I loved the dialogue throughout. I could tell this story has been thought over and over because every little string is connected in the end. Any question the readers may think of from side characters to Ayo herself is answered. And the side characters aren’t left to the side; they get their own flushed out stories. Ayo’s story specifically is heartbreaking but so powerful with how everything ties together.

I did eventually guess what was in the box at the end before Ayo, but I’ve also read many books and have dived into many stories before. So, not everything is a mystery anymore I guess.

This book also tackles American racism in a powerful way. It showcases the many sides and appearances racism takes. It also talks a lot about Black culture, something that I honestly do not know enough of and something that is continuously being taken away. I know for me, I hadn’t heard of the Blank anthem before, but as soon as the chapter that mentioned it was over, I looked it up. It’s a beautiful song.

I’ve already recommended this book to others. It’s a must read.

Score: 9.5/10
Average rating on Goodreads:

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