Run, Rebel is young adult novel in verse about a girl looking for a way to start a revolution in her life. Amber lives on a council estate with her parents, her abusive, alcoholic father and her mother who works long shifts at an exploitative job. She used to have her sister, but she’s married now, her dreams of university long gone, and Amber is left to read out receipts to her illiterate mum and go to appointments to translate for her father. She can’t tell her friends exactly what goes on at home and she can’t explain to her teachers why she’s not allowed to continue athletics training despite her love of running. Now, though, Amber is ready to fight, inspired by learning about revolutions and by her mum’s growing rebellions.
The verse style is vital to the novel, allowing the story to flow forward and the narrative to cut deep into Amber’s emotions. It makes it a very readable book, despite the difficult subject matter, and feels like it is pulsing forward like the running that keeps Amber going. The story is a powerful one that shows that people can find ways to get out of terrible situations and that it isn’t always as simple as wanting to leave. Run, Rebel will hopefully not only share an important narrative, but also give teenager readers examples of how poetry can be used to fight back and to tell a story in a fast-paced, engaging way.