A review by laylamckane
Run, Rebel, by Manjeet Mann

challenging emotional hopeful medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

<i>trigger warning for domestic abuse</i>

I listened to the audiobook version of this book which is performed by the author and I am so glad I chose this version. Run, Rebel is a novel in verse and hearing it spoken, sometimes whispered, made the words truly come alive. 

It's a gut-wrenching and heartbreaking story of abuse and rebellion, running and hope. Amber, the main character, felt so real. I wanted nothing more than reach into the book and give her a hug. Her fear and anger are palpable in every word and I think this is where the poetry really shines. It gives emotions a shape and sound that I could feel in my bones with words that hit like punches. 

The different narrative threads and the character development were handled masterfully, bringing every arc to a conclusion that felt organic and satisfying. I especially appreciated how the topic of domestic abuse was handled, the book offers what felt like a very nuanced and realistic portrayal of the emotional trauma that comes with that experience. It doesn't sugarcoat anything or pretends that getting out of an abusive situation is magically going to fix everything. It acknowledges that rebellion is a privilege and not everybody is in a position to just walk away. It also didn't shy away from showing Amber make some truly terrible choices and lashing out at other people as a result of her trauma. Infuriating to read, but real. 

Lastly, while it did take me a few chapters to get into the flow of the book, I loved the structure. After learning about the structure of rebellions in history, the rest of the story follows that arc, intertwining these steps with Amber's own personal rebellion.

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