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I Am Change

4.65  ·  Rating details ·  99 ratings  ·  39 reviews
They told her that her body belonged to men and her mind didn’t matter. They were wrong.

“What if I don’t want to marry?” Lillian held her breath. She had never said the words out loud. “Not want to marry?” Her aunt frowned. “What else would you do?”

Set in a Ugandan village, Lilian has learned to shrink herself to fit other people’s ideas of what a girl is. In her village
Published August 1st 2019 by Black Dog
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Average rating 4.65  · 
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 ·  99 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Jenny (Bookbookowl)
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you so much to Walker BooksAustraliafor providing me with a copy of I Am Change, in exchange for an honest review.

Lillian lives in a village where girls are expected to be married as a teenager, to a man their parent's select, and live the rest of their lives producing sons and looking after their husbands. They are not expected, or encouraged, to go to school. Why would their families waste money on sending them to school when they don't require an education?

But Lillian desperately wants
Laura Altmann (laurabookish)
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Trigger warnings: rape, domestic violence, female genital mutilation.

Lilian, a young girl growing up in rural Uganda, has big dreams. She's hungry to learn and plans to be the first person in her family to graduate primary school, hoping to one day be a teacher or an author. Unfortunately, Lilian's mother has other plans for her, viewing a good marriage as the only thing that can save her from a life of poverty. Though Lilian is fiercely intelligent, will she be strong enough to resist her
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was beautiful.

I am at a loss for words for how absolutely exquisite it was. The way it was written. The layers of stories of all the girls.

Full review to come on my blog tour stop this Friday! Subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss it!

This book is being considered as a text at school. It will be an amazing springboard for many conversations beyond its literary merits. I was only half way through this book when I had to stop and make a donation to One Girl (an org that helps girls in Nigeria get an education). This book is that powerful.
Julie (Bookish.Intoxication)
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loved
From the minute you open the cover of this book, you will be hooked, mesmerised by the sheer different world that Lilian and her family live in. Zail has written a masterpiece, inspired by women who have lived through similar situations and have found their own voices to share their stories with the world.

Suzy Zail is a master story teller, one that will have you so entranced in this tale of change that you won’t know what day or time it is, when you finish reading. Zail has a way of writing
Carolyn Taylor
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-books-read
My daughter wanted to borrow this from the school library but needed my consent, as it was a 16+ book and she is not quite 13. So I read it on the weekend before deciding if I was comfortable with her reading it.

This story was brilliant. It had some very confronting topics, however; they are explained and worded in a way which would be easy for a young person to understand. It makes me incredibly sad to know that the things described in this novel still happen to young girls today. It was
Brooklyn Tayla
Review to come on my posting date of the AusYABloggers blog tour of this book. A huge thank you to Walker Books Australia for providing me with a copy of this book and AusYABloggers for having me on the tour!
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I Am Change is inspiring.
Usually this isn’t the type of book that I would pick up. The synopsis didn’t grab me and the book is pink (I know… I’m fussy!!) I was however blown away, which I did really enjoy!
I Am Change is inspired by young Ugandan woman and the struggle and hardship that they have to endure. Not only as people that are poor and struggling in life but as woman. The start of the book dives in to young marriage and how woman must learn how to please a man. (When really men need to
TRIGGER WARNINGS for this book: abuse, sexual assualt warning, non-consensual bodily mutilation, sexism, misogyny.

I Am Change is not a novel that I would categorise as a plot-heavy novel, I would think it would be more character-based and I think one of the main reasons why I adore this book is because of the main character, Lilian. The narrative is meant to immerse the reader in the everyday life of Lilian as she comes of age - her family, her culture, her traditions, her friends, her
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh wow. I have not read a book this powerful and eye-opening since reading Waris Diri's "Desert flower"almost 20 years ago. And sadly, some things have not changed in that time. In many parts of the world, not just Africa, girls are still being denied an education, treated as servants within their own families, forced into marriages with older men and forced to endure the horrors of female genital mutilation.
Suzy Zail has done a BRILLIANT job of telling the fictitious yet HIGHLY believable
Bree T
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lilian has the misfortune to be born a girl in a Ugandan village. All she wants to do is go to school, complete her education and become a teacher or maybe an author. She has these big dreams but because she’s female, it’s likely she’ll be married off in her teens, not long after she becomes a ‘woman’. Her older brother experiences so much more freedom than she does and is waited on hand and foot, experiencing the sort of privilege Lilian can only dream about.

Fortunately for Lilian, she has a
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I Am Change is a powerful narrative inspired by true accounts of young Ugandan women. This book is the perfect blend of harrowing mixed with hope - it’s definitely not all smooth sailing however you are never left feeling entirely defeated, there is still a light at the end of the tunnel.

“Don’t let what you cannot do rid you of what you can”

This is definitely a character driven story and the main character is just so beautifully strong. Lilian fights for her worth, every single day. She fights
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review and others like it can be found on my website:

RRP: $19.99 AUD
Publication Date: August 2019

"Men don't marry smart women" her mother said, snuffing out the fire. "Especially woman who are smarter than them." She stared at the damp page on Lilians lap. "Just because you can draw those lines and dots, doesn't mean your dreams will come true."

If you do one thing today, make it buying this book and then devouring it whole.

I Am Change was inspired by and written in
Mackenzie Stolp
Oct 17, 2019 rated it liked it

Such an incredibly powerful story! education and birth control are incredible forces in ending cycles of poverty not just in Africa but globally.

Unfortunately the storytelling in this book was not as powerful. The writing was not terrible, but it felt quite basic!

The story of the text is definitely it’s driving force, and the writing style should not be a discouragement for you to read this book. Please read it! Stories about young girls like this do not get written enough, they’re far too
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A powerful and confronting story about young African girls and the struggles they face for education and equality. The story is told compassionately and engagingly and was a good read. I would recommend.
Underground Writers
This review was first published on the Underground Writers website:

Lillian wants so much more out of life than what is expected of her. Growing up in rural Uganda, her life is destined to follow the same path as her sisters, mother, and so many women before her: marry, have children, and care for her husband for the rest of her life. But Lillian doesn’t want to marry; she wants to get an education and become a writer.

When an opportunity arises to move to
Jessica M
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing

I Am Change is an extraordinary novel from Suzy Zail, about dreams, destiny, expectations, and one young girl’s determination to follow her passion and reject the future that is expected of her.

Suzy Zail’s book is fictional, but it is based on countless research and interviews with young Ugandan women. Lilian’s story in the book was inspired by 30 different Ugandan women, and all of the experiences that Lilian had in the book, are based on real life events that happened
I've lived long enough to be aware of the sorts of discrimination, deprivation and abuse women have faced throughout history and into modern times. I know that in some countries this sort of treatment of women is fairly common place and even condoned by the law. Even though I know all this, it is still shocking to read about it and know women are enduring this treatment even as I type. Suzy Zail is brutal in her telling of Lilian's story, which she says herself is the composite of situations ...more
Graeme Cash
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am Change follows Lilian, a young woman from a rural village in Uganda, who dreams of writing stories and has ambitions of becoming a teacher.

Unfortunately for Lilian in her village young women are often pressured into marriages arranged by their parents. It is expected that the young woman’s focus will be producing sons and caring for her husband’s needs. Many young women do not complete their education as these arranged marriages will occur when they are a teenager.

I understand the
Aug 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.

I was a little cautious heading in, because I figured it was going to be a pretty intense read, and also I have reservations about white/privileged/western authors writing about experiences that are really not their own. But I did a bit of research, and found that Zail had done a lot of research, spoken with many Ugandan girls and worked with organisations in Uganda that support girls seeking education. This
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: feminist
Trigger warning
Includes rape, domestic violence and female genital mutilations.
While I recommend this book please be aware this book doesn’t shy away from some hard hitting but important topics.

This is unlike any book I’ve read. I felt so many emotions while reading, mainly anger and sadness at our world. This story is powerful and written beautifully. Even though Lilian is a fictional character, her story is all to real for many young women in Uganda and elsewhere. I want to
Female genital mutilation, domestic violence, rape, poverty.

An absolutely incredible read, insightful, confronting, emotional and inspiring, Lilian is a character who dreams of becoming a writer and echoes the voices of many girls around the world and the hardships they face.

Set in a small village in Uganda, we follow Lilian’s journey as a young girl growing up in a world where becoming a good house wife is more important than getting an education. But Lilian refuses to believe
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This story exudes power.
Power to have a choice.
Power to have an opinion.
Power to enact change.

The story represents the voices of many who do not have the same privileges as we do. It represents the idea that power, education, culture and identity can go hand in hand. It represents the notion that traditions of the past can be maintained and respected, but also, be changed and altered for the better.

The writing brings about awareness and inclusion. Luganda and English are woven together to show
Tegan Siân
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was beautifully written and eye opening. I have so many feelings about this one, it was so powerful and I was cheering for Lilian (our main character) the whole book. It made me stop and think about how lucky and privileged I was to be born in Australia while in other parts of the world such as Uganda (Where the book is set) girls have to fight for their right to an education. While parts of this story were confronting they are the truth for so many girls. This book is so important. ...more
Leora Jacks
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My words cannot describe enough how beautifully written this book is. Suzy Zail is truly an amazing writer who took me on a journey through her wonderful storytelling to a village in Uganda, to a place of poverty and hardship for most people but in particular young women. I was truly inspired by Lilian whose experiences throughout the book were drawn from many young women. How very brave of those young girls to share their stories. This book is an absolute must to read!
Rhonda Silver
Oct 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written book , highlighting the plight of women in Uganda. The story line is not too overt, therefore making it an easier read. I got lost in the characters and couldn't wait to find out what awaits them. The book has now spurred me on to help these beautiful girls through the various charities listed in the book. I highly recommend reading it.
Alicia Ngatai
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

“If you want to move mountains you’ll have to start by lifting rocks.” ~ Suzy Zail

I am change is an inspirational wonder. Although the story itself is fictional, the trials faced by the main character Lillian and her friends and family are based on true stories.
Everyone should grab this book right now and read it because it showcases the discrimination and difficulties Ugandan girls and women deal with every day as well as their unrelenting
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow this book gave you an insight into what life is like for others. The book really made me think about how lucky and blessed I am to live the life I live and to have rights and be able to get an education. Loved this book.
Robyn Prior
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just finished reading this amazing novel and i am full of awe. What an astonishing exercise in empathy, compassion, research and imagination. I felt like i was inside the main character Lilian. Brava Suzy Zail.
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Suzy Zail was born in 1966 in Melbourne, and has worked as a solicitor specialising in litigation. After the birth of her first child, Suzy left the law to concentrate on writing. Suzy has written for magazines, and is the author of award-winning children’s books. Her children’s fiction has been published in Australia, Canada, and the United States.

Suzy, an internationally published author,
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