The Big Jubilee Read

The Big Jubilee Read

To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee the BBC has compiled the ‘Big Jubilee Read’ listing 70 great reads from across the Commonwealth and spanning the seven decades of her reign.  Ten books for each of the seven decades of the Queen’s reign were selected by a panel of librarians, booksellers and literature experts from readers’ recommendations spanning 31 countries.

It must have been some task to whittle down all the excellent books published in the last 70 years to 70 titles and naturally there will be some big omissions and it won’t please everyone. There is no William Golding (many would have expected to see ‘Lord of the Flies’ on this list), nor any novels by Graham Greene or J. R. R. Tolkein. However, I regard this list as an opportunity to highlight works by lesser known authors and encourage us to diversify our reading. Harry Potter and the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy really don’t need any more exposure and remain hugely popular. Nor does this list seem to be intended for children. However, it would make an excellent reading list for 6th Formers broadening their reading horizons.

You can read more on this subject here and The Metro article does state:

A panel of independent librarians, booksellers and literature specialists chose the titles from a readers’ choice longlist, with a focus on ‘celebrating great books and shining a spotlight on lesser known books and authors who deserve recognition’, according to the BBC.

The Women’s Prize for Fiction has selected  fourteen books from exceptional women that we’ll be reading from The Big Jubilee Read.

Some of my favourite recommendations from the list are:

*Life of Pi* – Yann Martel (2001, Canada)

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood (1985, Canada)

*Small Island* – Andrea Levy (2004, England)

*Wide Sargasso Sea* – Jean Rhys (1966, Dominica/Wales)

*The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy* – Douglas Adams (1979, England)

Death of a Naturalist – Seamus Heaney (1966, Northern Ireland) (I’ve loved these poems since studying them for A Level English Literature many years ago!)

Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie (1981, England/India)

*Picnic at Hanging Rock* – Joan Lindsay (1967, Australia)

Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2006, Nigeria)

*The Book Thief* – Markus Zusak (2005, Australia)

White Teeth – Zadie Smith (2000, England)

Shuggie Bain – Douglas Stuart (2020, Scotland)

Looking at my favourites I have to confess I haven’t read any of the books from 1952 – 1961 – so I’ve got some exploring to do of the the first decade of reading.

The titles with asterisks I consider more accessible for younger teens 13+.

International Women’s Day 2022 – Books and reading

Next Tuesday, 8th March, marks International Women’s Day. The theme this year is break the bias. There will be a display of books in the library ranging from inspirational biographies from Michelle Obama to Malala, books about feminism and fiction by female authors. One of the most important recent books on this subject is  ‘Invisible Women: Exposing data bias in a world designed by men’ by Caroline Criado Perez. This book won the Royal Society Science Book Prize 2019 and is on one of our 6th Formers Top Ten Books list. Two very readable and interesting history books which highlight the role women have played in history are:  ‘A History of the World in 21 Women’ and ‘A History of Britain in 21 Women’ by Jenni Murray. These are currently available in the library. On this day the Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist is also announced. One of my favourite books was the 2020 winner – Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell.

Very aptly, the Wellington College Community Book Club will be discussing ‘Old Baggage’ by Lissa Evans on Tuesday 8th March. This is a comic novel featuring a feisty former suffragette as the protagonist. It’s 1928 and Mattie Simpkin is on a mission to educate the next generation of girls on the importance of full female suffrage as the battle for votes for women is not over.

Here are some reading suggestions:

  • Invisible Women: Exposing data bias in a world designed for men by Caroline Criado Perez
  • Hidden figures : the untold story of the African American women who helped win the space race by Margot Lee Shetterly
  • We should all be feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Women & Power: A manifesto by Mary Beard
  • Women, Race and Class by Angela Y Davis
  • How to be a woman by Caitlin Moran
  • A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft
  • Misogynation by Laura Bates
  • A History of the World in 21 Women by Jenni Murray
  • A History of Britain in 21 Women by Jenni Murray
  • Dancing in the Mosque by Humayra Qadiri
  • A room of one’s own by Virginia Woolf

Some inspiring Women’s Biographies:

  • Educated by Tara Westover
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • Maya Angelou’s autobiography starting with ‘I know why the caged birds sing’
  • West with the night by Beryl Markham
  • My own words: Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • I am Malala

An excellent film to watch is ‘On the Basis of Sex’ (2018). This is a biographical legal drama based on the life and early cases of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who served as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1993 to her death in 2020, and became the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court.

Hidden Figures (see the book above).

Have a browse of our  Gender, Identity and Feminism padlet for more reading recommendations.

Costa Book Award 2021 – Book of the Year Announcement

We have been eagerly following the announcements in the 50th Costa Book Awards 2021. Copies of all the Shortlisted Books were added to library stock. Two of our favourite books of the year were shortlisted for the novel category – ‘The Island of Missing Trees’ by Elif Shafak and ‘Unsettled Ground’ by Claire Fuller.

We were particularly excited to see ‘The Crossing’ by Manjeet Mann won the Children’s Book Category. This powerful and moving verse novel has been very popular with our students and we are looking forward to Manjeet’s visit next term. Last year we gave all our incoming Y9s a copy of Manjeet’s first YA verse novel ‘Run, Rebel’ as a summer holiday read before joining Wellington College. This was also very well received and prompted many students to go on and read ‘Run, Rebel’. A number of them developed a new interest in verse novels and went on to read Sarah Crossan’s books. They loved the pace of the story and the look of the poems on the page.



On Tuesday 1st February 2022 the Costa Book of the Year was announced; chosen from the five category winners.

Hannah Lowe’s collection of poetry, ‘The Kids’, has won the £30,000 Costa Book of the Year Award. This book of sonnets has been described as ‘uplifting’ and ‘a book to fall in love with’. I like the judging criteria of ‘the most enjoyable book’ –  a book to read, enjoy and share. The prize ‘rewarding and celebrating highly readable and recommendable books that anyone and everyone can enjoy.’

Having read, and thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Kids’, I agree with the judges – this is a celebration of young people, their energy and diversity and also a personal story of a young teacher who isn’t afraid to poke fun at her own mistakes; the learning is both by the teacher and the students. Lowe creates an incredibly accessible and moving collection of contemporary sonnets including themes of motherhood, parents and relationships which is  often very witty. Lowe’s personality and voice buzz off the page – there is the immediacy in her writing which makes it a highly accessible collection of poetry. Many people feel wary or daunted by poetry but this book is for everyone and may convince poetry sceptics to try some more!

A particular joy is hearing Hannah Lowe read her poetry. You can listen to a reading here

Listen to an interview with Lowe by current students at City and Islington College. She was an English teacher at CANDI from 2002 – 2012.

Christmas Reading Times – What’s on your Christmas movie list?

Once again Mrs Smith, Librarian at Eckington School has dedicated many hours to creating her guide to Christmas viewing based on books. As she writes: ‘Behind many good films, there’s often a great book!’ XmasTV21

‘In this guide you can find details of films and television series that are based on books and available to watch over the festive period. Some of your fantastic school librarians have made suggestions for books they would like to see adapted, and you’ll find these, and some of the books that inspired the films in this guide, in your school and public libraries. Why not borrow one for the holidays?’

It’s available to read or download from the School Library Association website. Use this link and scroll down to Christmas TV list 2021.

As always a big thank you to Helen Smith for generously sharing this guide with us!

See lists of Best Books of the Year 2021 collated here. And browse our most borrowed books and authors.

Here are some recommended podcasts


Best Books of the Year 2021

One of the delights of December is the proliferation of lists of ‘Best books of the Year’ from a range of sources. Waterstones have just announced their ‘Children’s Gift of the Year’ as ‘Julia and the Shark’, a beautifully illustrated poetic story for children. Described as A captivating, powerful and luminous story from a bestselling, award-winning author about a mother, a daughter, and the great Greenland shark. With mesmerising black and yellow illustrations and presented as a hardback with tracing paper inserts, this is a perfect gift for 9+ fans of David Almond and Frances Hardinge.(lovereading4kids)

Waterstones Books of the Year 2021 Winner ‘The Lyrics’ by Paul McCartney

Foyles Books of the Year 2021






Costa Book Award Shortlists, 23rd November 2021

Booktrust – The very best books of 2021 picked by authors and illustrators

Faber have a series of beautifully presented themed book gift guides.

Penguin : The books we loved in 2021

Guardian Best Books of 2021 including categories for Politics, Crime and Thrillers, Science Fiction and Fantasy and Food so far.

Guardian Best Books of 2021 chosen by guest authors

The Times best books of 2021

This list chooses Kazuo Ishiguro’s latest novel ‘Klara and the Sun’ as its top fiction pick.

For children Phil Earle’s ‘When the sky falls’ triumphs. This moving, unique story is set in a zoo during World War ll.

FT Fiction of the Year 2021

Best books of 2021 by themed lists from Five Books

Support your local independent bookshop through in-person visits or online at Have a look at the Books Are my Bag readers choice award winners.

We also loved the poetry BAMB Poetry choice and it’s available from the Library now.








We also have the fascinating and thought-provoking Royal Society Science Book Prize Shortlist and Winner 2021 in the library.





Popular book choices from the Library staff and borrowers this year include:

Thrillers/Detective/Murder Mystery/Spies:

  • The Appeal by Janice Hallet
  • The Man who died twice by Richard Osman (the second outing of the entertaining and sympathetic band of elderly sleuths The Thursday Murder Club)
  • Slough House by Mick Herron

Historical Fiction

  • The Passenger by Ulrich Alexander Boschwitz
  • The Women of Troy by Pat Barker
  • The moth and the mountain by Ed Caesar

Young Adult:

  • Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman
  • Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe  by Benjamin Alire Saenz
  • Run, Rebel by Manjeet Mann
  • The Crossing by Manjeet Mann
  • 29 locks by Nicola Garrett

Picture Books:

  • The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess by Tom Gauld
  • Arlo the lion who couldn’t sleep by Catherine Rayner
  • The bird within me by Sara Lundberg
  • What happened to you by James Catchpole

Graphic Novels:

  • Esther’s notebooks by Riad Sattouf (in English and French)
  • Factory Summers by Guy Delisle
  • Couch Fiction: A graphic tale of pyschotherapy by Philippa Perry
  • Medusa by Jessie Burton
  • Sapiens – Graphic novel volume 2. by David Vandermeulen and Yuval Noah Harari

General fiction:

  • The Fell by Sarah Moss
  • The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex
  • Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam (Dr Hendrick’s top pick)
  • Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers
  • Still Life by Sarah Winman
  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  • The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

We continue to recommend ‘Miss Benson’s Beetle’ by Rachel Joyce as wonderful feelgood fiction and the audiobook is brilliantly narrated by Juliet Stevenson.


  • Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman
  • Vaxxers by Sarah Gilbert
  • Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake
  • The world according to colour: A cultural history by James Fox

See below for the list of books we read and discussed at the Wellington College Community Book Club (out of necessity, mostly online via Teams this year). This is a friendly, informal group of teachers, staff, parents, Old Wellingtonians and parents of OWs.

Wellington College Community Book Club – 2021 Titles

January:   Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell and My sister, the serial killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite.

March:      Jeoffry: The poet’s cat by Oliver Soden and The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.

April:         Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro and A woman is no man by Etaf Rum

June:         Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce and The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Sept:         A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

Nov:        The man who died twice by Richard Osman and  Leave the world behind by Rumaan Alam

For our Book Club meeting on 25th January 2022 (7.30pm on Teams) we will be discussing Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.







Top Ten most borrowed non-fiction of 2021

The Great Pretender: The undercover mission that changed our understanding of madness Susannah Cahalan
Sapiens : a Brief History of Humankind Yuval Noah Harari
Invisible Women : exposing data bias in a world designed for men Caroline Criado-Perez
The Psychology Book Dorling Kindersley
Mindfulness Mark J. Williams
Stuff Matters Mark Miodownik
Wild Swans : Three daughters of China Jung Chang
Talking to Strangers : what we should know about the people we don’t know Malcolm Gladwell
Testosterone rex : Unmaking the myths of our gendered minds Cordelia Fine
The Story of Art E. H. Gombrich

Top 15 most borrowed authors of 2021

Neal Shusterman
Sarah J. Maas
Ben Aaronovitch
Alice Oseman
Sarah Govett
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Dan Freedman
Simon Mason
Angie Thomas
Malorie Blackman
J. K. Rowling
Kwame Alexander
Sarah Crossan
George Orwell
Leigh Bardugo

Top 20 most popular fiction titles of 2021

Scythe: Book 1 Neal Shusterman
Thunderhead: (Scythe Book 2) Neal Shusterman
The Territory: Book 1 Sarah Govett
The song of Achilles Madeline Miller
Miss Benson’s Beetle Rachel Joyce
Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe Benjamin Alire Saenz
The Hate U Give Angie Thomas
Running girl Simon Mason
Unstoppable Dan Freedman
1984 George Orwell
We were liars E. Lockhart
A court of thorns and roses: Book 1 Sarah J. Maas
The Penguin Lessons Tom Michell
The midnight library Matt Haig
Dry Neal Shusterman
The Thursday Murder Club Richard Osman
Heartstopper: Volume 4 (graphic novel) Alice Oseman
The Vanishing Half Brit Bennett
Becoming Muhammad Ali James Patterson and Kwame Alexander
Holes Louis Sachar


Book of the Week – Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman

17th September 2021 Book of the Week:

‘Dry’ by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman

It is delightful to see a number of our new 3rd form visiting the library several times a day, for a brief pause, to read a graphic novel or the next instalment of their favourite dystopian novel. We are having more book chats than usual and enthusiastic readers are recommending the ‘Scythe’ trilogy to their friends. Books not only provide an opportunity to relax and escape into other worlds in a busy boarding school day, but also the chance to connect with peers over reactions to books. Neal Shusterman’s young adult books have been incredibly popular with our students across the age range. This week’s book recommendation is ‘Dry’ written by Neal Shusterman in collaboration with his son Jarrod. The 4th form scholars have been racing through this novel. This fast-paced, thought-provoking thriller is set on the brink of apocalypse. The taps have run dry in California and a group of teens struggle to keep their lives and humanity. What would you do if a Tap-Out struck? You can read a more detailed review here.

Mental Health Awareness Week,10th – 16th May – #ConnectWithNature

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, 10th – 16th May 2021  on the theme of Nature. The Mental Health Foundation is encouraging all of us to connect with nature (Further information about why they have chosen this theme here)

What could be more perfect than getting lost in a good book in the midst of a bluebell wood listening to birdsong?

The goals for the week are described as:

  • Firstly, to inspire more people to connect with nature in new ways, noticing the impact that this connection can have for their mental health.
  • Secondly, to convince decision makers at all levels that access to and quality of nature is a mental health and social justice issue as well as an environmental one.

Here are their Top Tips for Connecting with Nature

We have a growing collection of books in the library on the theme of nature – including diaries, memoirs, what to spot in your garden, rewilding projects and including Helen Macdonald and Robert Macfarlane’s books. Have a browse of the library Nature and Wildlife padlet to explore the books available on this theme.

Many people have talked about how since the arrival of COVID and the lockdown periods they have come to appreciate their immediate surroundings and the plants and wildlife in their gardens and find it calming – a tonic for their wellbeing. I include myself in this number, having become fascinated by the birds in my garden and enjoying local walks in search of bluebells and ducklings at this time of year.  In the library we have been developing a collection of books on wildlife and nature writing. It ranges from memoirs which explore training a goshawk as a way of overcoming a sudden bereavement – ‘H is for Hawk’ by Helen Macdonald to ‘The Wild Remedy: How Nature Mends Us – A Diary’ by Emma Mitchell including beautiful nature drawings, photos and honest reflections on the author’s struggles with depression. We also have books on bird identification and ‘Bird Therapy’ by Joe Harkness and ‘The Garden Jungle: or Gardening to Save the Planet’ by Dave Goulson. Described thus: The Garden Jungle is about the wildlife that lives right under our noses, in our gardens and parks, between the gaps in the pavement, and in the soil beneath our feet.  

We are so lucky to live and work in a beautiful environment with deer in the woods and at this time of year ducklings and goslings on the lake. Have a look at the Welly Wildlife website for more about the habitats and species around us and follow @WellyWildlife on Twitter.

We also have library padlets on the themes of  Mental Health and Wellbeing and Feelgood Fiction. The books are available to borrow from the library and may also be available as e-books.


Mood-boosting books

Here is a list of feelgood books put together by young people: Mood-boosting Books – A 2018 list chosen by young people

You can read about this in a blog post from the Reading Agency – Moodboosting books for young people – blog post




Exeter University students have also put together a collection of books to recommend to new students called ‘The Freshlist’ – 12 Mood-boosting books to get you through the year. I also loved ‘The Humans’ by Matt Haig.

Shelf-help – Books on Prescription

As well as escapist fiction or gritty reality stories or weepy books which can make us feel surprisingly better at times, we have a collection of factual books to help with mental health issues. We stock the books on the Reading Agency ‘Reading Well’ list for Young People which is described as:

Reading Well Books on Prescription helps you to understand and manage your health and wellbeing using self-help reading. The books are chosen by health experts and people living with the conditions covered. People can be recommended a title by a health professional, or they can visit their local library and take a book out for free. 

The books are on a range of issues including ADHD, Anxiety, worry and panic, Autism and Asperger syndrome, body image and eating disorders, bullying, confidence and self-esteem, depression, mood swings, OCD, self-harm and stress.

Here is the Reading Well list for young children

This is the list of Books on Prescription – Reading Well for adults

Book suggestions on reading for wellbeing

  • The reading cure : how books restored my appetite by Laura Freeman
  • The novel cure: An A-Z of Literary Remedies by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin This is a fascinating book to dip into with suggested books for any number of maladies from long-windedness (the cure being Cormac McCarthy as The Road is ‘an exemplary model of short-windedness’) to stubbed toe, low self-esteem and being different.

Tutor Group and Book Club Reads

One positive aspect of lockdown has been an increase in reading. Many students and staff tell me they have been reading more than usual and book clubs have been flourishing.  I proposed the idea of tutor group book clubs with a shared read chosen either by the students themselves or I provided a shortlist of suggested titles with summaries and the students voted for their favourite. We now have 10 tutor groups from Y9 to L6th reading a book together and looking forward to discussing it in group tutorials later this term. The Picton Y9 boys read ‘Ready Player One’ by Ernest Cline over the Christmas holiday and we had a lively discussion including a number of Y8s who are joining the house in September 2021. The boys were enthusiastic about the book and volunteered insightful comments. House Master and Assistant HM Mr Murray and Mr Bilclough were brilliant champions of the book (it helped that this is one of Mr Murray’s favourite books and English teacher Mr Bilclough is a previously sceptical convert!)

The Wellington Community Book Club are reading ‘Jeoffry the Poet’s Cat’ by Oliver Soden and The Midnight Library by Matt Haig for their online discussion in March.



The Lower 6th Book Club has been flourishing and expanding and have read a diverse trio of books so far.


‘Run, Rebel’ by Manjeet Mann – Virtual Author Talk

We’re really excited to see ‘Run, Rebel’ has been nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Book Award Longlists announced on 18th February 2021.

Big congratulations to Manjeet Mann!



I am restless, my feet need to fly.

Amber is trapped – by her father’s rules, by his expectations, by her own fears.

Now she’s ready to fight – for her mother,  for her sister, for herself.

Freedom always comes at a price.

Over the Christmas holiday the whole of our 3rd form and a group of 4th Form Scholars were given a book to read. ‘Run, Rebel’ by Manjeet Mann was chosen and we followed up the reading with a virtual author talk by Manjeet on 14th January 2021. Manjeet spoke about her life, her writing inspiration and her future writing plans and this was followed by a Q&A from me (Head Librarian Lucy Atherton) and 4th former Amelie. After this we opened up the questions to all students and staff attending. There were many interesting questions and insightful comments about the book.

We hadn’t realised how autobiographical Manjeet’s first YA novel was and this gave the story even more impact. Manjeet’s best bit of advice to aspiring writers was just get something down on paper. Her technique is to start with a ‘vomit draft’ all the writing comes pouring out and much editing happens later. She didn’t read or write much as a child and teenager but had a passion for acting and plays and became an actress and playwright before turning to writing novels too. We are eagerly anticipating Manjeet’s second YA verse novel The Crossing out in June 2021.

As an additional follow-up Ms Sagers from the English Department ran a ‘How to write a book review’ session for the 4th form group. Here are some of their responses to the book:

‘Let’s start a revolution’

Run, rebel is a captivating verse novel that explores fear, family and freedom.

This young adult novel follows a teenage girl consumed by her father’s trauma as well as her own insecurities. Her only escape is running and her two best friends. Will she ever be able to break free from this maze of abuse and find freedom? But at what cost would freedom come?

Manjeet Mann’s thrilling, inciting and engaging novel promises to draw you in with its unique writing technique encouraging a fast paced read which links to the constant fear which Amber is forced to endure.

Although this is targeted at a young adult audience this novel can be enjoyed by a wide audience as it addresses contemporary issues which will emotionally touch every reader because of its harsh reality.

Not only does the verse structure provide a thrilling read but also the constant variation of fonts and layout allows us to delve into her unpredictable and disturbing life.

This emotionally charged novel ensures a riveting read.

Run, Rebel review

By Roni, Elia, Saskia and Emily

‘I realise I’ve only ever been half breathing’.  Manjeet Mann’s portrayal of an underprivileged, underappreciated young woman investigates the themes of empowerment over oppression, and resilience, is perfectly summed up by this quote. Amber Rai’s story explores the very notion of freedom, as she struggles to battle the traditions and ill-treatment, confining her to a ‘normal’ life. Mann’s utilisation of verse contributes to the raw human emotions shown throughout her various battles, and emotionally ties the reader to the character throughout the whole novel.

Amber Rai: teenage girl, track runner, abuse survivor, fighting for her mother, her sister and herself. This eye-opening masterpiece is an essential read for everyone aged 12 and higher, particularly if you have previously enjoyed reading books such as ‘The Hate U Give’ by Angie Thomas or ‘I Am Thunder’ by Muhammad Khan. Each word is equally as breath-taking as the next, drawing the reader in immediately from page one with Manjeet Mann’s inimitable style of writing. Mann portrays characters in such a vivid and compelling manner that while one is reading, they are able to become the character, intertwined in their thoughts and emotions. Throughout the story you will only get more and more immersed and absorbed in the enchanting words of Mann and even by the end of the first chapter, I assure you, you will be on the edge of your seat.

Throughout the novel I felt conflicted between characters and found myself empathising with many questionable actions that I didn’t think I would but I believe that is the unique quality of Manjeet’s writing. Her ability to portray so many emotions through structural verse allowed the reader to interpret their own individual synopsis from the story and more importantly decide the personal impact of each character. Having the readership of young adults, amongst other age groups, is so crucial. This book is massively insightful and relevant as we progress into our future and implements the importance of cultural awareness, even through one personal story. The storyline resonated so powerfully with me due to the escapism of exercise which I think is so decisive in Amber’s character and easily connectable globally.

“Run, Rebel”book review

Run, Rebel by Manjeet Mann includes many intriguing & common themes including domestic abuse, freedom, women’s rights, friendship, family, and sport.

This book is mainly directed towards young adults/ teenagers: people who can relate to the protagonist in terms of age or experience.

Amber, an Indian girl in the UK, feels trapped by her community’s rules. She and her mother escape domestic violence, while Amber also must navigate the troubles of love, friendship and teenage school life.

Mann’s writing is unique in its brilliant utilization of verse. Similarly, its varied structure and punctuation adds a layer of interest to the various motifs- in particular Mann’s description of running uses bold vocabulary and purposeful spacing to drive the protagonist Amber’s sense of salvation within sport.

The book uses the anatomy of revolution to introduce stages/chapters in the book, it also comes from an interesting perspective. Mann brings together traditional Indian culture with running and liberation. The characters situations are put in direct contrast with one another in this book – Amber’s life compared to the lives of her friends.

“How we fought, how we survived, how we rebelled.” (pg. 477) This short quotation shows a progression throughout the book in many ways from Amber’s view, it sums up the tone of the book – an active, strong approach towards difficult circumstances she faced.

I believe that this book is an interesting insight into the life of young people in Indian culture, as well as the everyday misogyny many women experience. I would recommend it to people who like poetry, verse novels and teen drama.

 Candida,  Amelie, Sunay and Liza 


Key themes – female empowerment

Target audience – our age, people who can’t relate so they can find out about other cultures

Style – In verse, different perspectives

Unique – varies in structure, speech in different fonts, illiterate parents

Summary – Amber likes to run, however her parents have her life arranged for her and she cannot follow her dreams. Gets fed up and decides to rebel. Because she stood up for herself she managed to change her future and her Mum’s to one that she chose.

I am rebel

I question it

Aspects of the book still happens and older generations are still traditional

Some people can’t speak for themselves (abusive relationships etc.)

Interesting, emotional to find out some people live in fear and pain.