A Change Is Gonna Come

A Change Is Gonna Come by various authors

A Change Is Gonna Come is an anthology of short stories and poetry by BAME authors aimed at a young adult audience. They touch on culture and identity in Britain and further afield today, using modern culture, alternate universes, and complex issues to tell stories about relatable characters. The authors are a mix of established names and fresh talent and the anthology is likely to be shared in classrooms as well as being a great read for teenagers, those who can remember being one, and anyone who wants to celebrate and enjoy diversity in YA writing.

A memorable early story in the collection is Aisha Busby’s ‘Marionette Girl’, which features a mixed race teenager with OCD charting the minutiae of her days, showing the frustrations of her condition as well as what makes her happy. ‘Hackney Moon’ by Tanya Byrne is a smart love story about Esther, half-Guyanese and half-English and in love with her female best friend, who meets Alesha at Rich Mix in Shoreditch and finds a place in the world. Byrne also uses a quirky, self-aware narratorial voice which adds a nice touch, commenting on teenage love and people being more than just ordinary. Nikesh Shukla’s ‘We Who?’ tells a Brexit story from a young adult perspective whilst looking at what happens when bigotry starts coming from supposed friends. And the emotional twist in Patrice Lawrence’s ‘The Clean Sweep’ can shock when it hits in a Black Mirror-esque story of justice systems and reality TV.

This is the kind of anthology to buy for yourself, for any (other) teenagers in your life, and for anyone who wants modern, diverse short fiction (and the odd poem). As the title suggests, it is full of characters looking and fighting for change, whether in their everyday lives or on a larger scale, and also dealing with a variety of things in their lives such as mental health issues, sexuality, and identity. Fiction has power, and this anthology is looking to prove it.