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Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America

Review

Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America

written and edited by Amy Reed, and others

OUR STORIES, OUR VOICES is an anthology of 21 female young adult authors’ essays about their struggles, journeys and activism. Written soon after the 2017 Presidential Inauguration, this poignant collection features diverse and influential writers within the genre. Authors including Amy Reed, Ellen Hopkins, Amber Smith, Sandhya Menon and many more contribute their own defining moments and thoughts on America today.

Every essay in this anthology stood alone as an enthralling and thought-provoking personal essay. As a collection of 21 essays, there is a little bit of everything and for every reader. It is very telling that every author wanted their story heard, and OUR STORIES, OUR VOICES gives the microphone to everyone. There was not a single essay that was not captivating, and every piece takes on present-day America from a different angle.

"Every essay in this anthology stood alone as an enthralling and thought-provoking personal essay. As a collection of 21 essays, there is a little bit of everything and for every reader."

A typical YA anthology is several short stories connected by a common theme, but OUR STORIES, OUR VOICES was different and the only nonfiction YA anthology that I have ever read. Not only does it include the real lives of authors whose works I know and love, but it opened me up to just as many more whose books I am now reaching for to read. Two of the short stories even came from authors who are not yet published, and theirs ended up being some of my favorites.

All 21 authors had a significant piece in crafting this compelling read that ultimately has made me see YA in a new light. Because it is written with current events and politics in mind, it is incredibly relevant to present conversations and will continue to be. Additionally, every author approached their essay differently with what they chose to include and naturally, they all experience life differently. One of my favorite chapters was “Unexpected Pursuits: Embracing My Indigeneity & Creativity” by Christine Day, who is not yet a published author but had one of the most interesting stories to tell. Some others like “Fat and Loud” by Julie Murphy, “The One Who Defines Me” by Aisha Saeed, and “Dreams Deferred and Other Explosions” by I.W. Gregorio were written by authors whose books I had read, and it honestly did make me see their work in a different light. Now when I read any of these other authors records, I am going to understand better their writing style and inspiration.

Readers who love anthologies of any sort will enjoy OUR STORIES, OUR VOICES. Those interested in politics and current events, as well as young adult fans, will appreciate all that this anthology is. It is the perfect read for anyone needing inspiration or looking for fresh viewpoints from some favorite YA authors.

Reviewed by Grace P., Teen Board Member on August 14, 2018

Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America
written and edited by Amy Reed, and others