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Run, Rebel

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When Amber runs, it's the only time she feels completely free - far away from her claustrophobic home life. Her father wants her to be a dutiful daughter, waiting for an arranged marriage like her sister Ruby.

Running is a quiet rebellion. But Amber wants so much more - and she's ready to fight for it.

It's time for a revolution.

496 pages, Paperback

First published March 5, 2020

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About the author

Manjeet Mann

10 books75 followers
Manjeet is an actress, playwright, screenwriter and director. She is the founder of Run The World - an organization that works with women and girls from marginalized backgrounds and helps to empower them through sport and storytelling. She lives in Kent.

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5 stars
811 (48%)
4 stars
630 (37%)
3 stars
189 (11%)
2 stars
44 (2%)
1 star
10 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 288 reviews
Profile Image for Claude's Bookzone.
1,535 reviews216 followers
October 16, 2020

“One day I will change the world. Not only for my younger sister and my daughter, but for all women. I will lay the foundations and change the world.”

Well that was a painful and emotional but ultimately empowering verse novel.

I think the author did a remarkable job of drawing Readers into the story. When the main characters hurt so did I, when they were made to feel small I cried, and when they raged I was right there with them raising my fist. I think having multiple women narrate the story was amazing because we saw the generational differences in the ways the women thought and felt about their place within their community, and their expectations for the future. It also looks at the cultural clashes that can occur when first generation children grow up in society vastly different from that of their parents. I liked the dichotomy between the ‘father’ and the ‘respected community leader’. Through this the author really shone a light on how certain unacceptable behaviours can be hidden from public view. From my understanding this is an own voice story so I again feel privileged to have had a glimpse into a culture different to my own. An emotional story about abused women who rise and rebel.

Note: I think this needs to be read as opposed to listened to as I suspect there are some visual text elements that are part of the storytelling as is often the case in free verse novels.

4.5 Stars
Profile Image for 8stitches 9lives.
2,854 reviews1,644 followers
November 24, 2020
Run, Rebel is a compelling debut novel written in verse and I found myself flying through it. It explores many prevalent real-world issues such as feminism, identity, poverty, class, friendship, family and the many forms of abuse and it really hit home for me having grown up with a narcissistic and misogynistic abuser. The story follows teenager Amber who grew up with an alcoholic and abusive father who targeted both her and her mother. Her father wants her to conform to his ideals like her sister Ruby did, but Amber is not so pliable and knows she needs to escape this situation before she can achieve her dreams. For such a short novel it packs a powerful emotional punch and all I wanted was to see Amber escape and live her life by her own rules. She doesn't want the arranged marriage they insist upon as they search for a ”perfect” suitor.

Mann has created a story whereby you feel the claustrophobia and sense of tension emanating from the pages, and I know the feeling of constantly walking on eggshells and so you try to keep out of the abusers way completely. If feels so authentic that I feel Mann either experienced this herself or researched the topic of abuse thoroughly. This is a heartbreaking and rather heavy read for me as a lot of what happens actually happened and is still happening to me. But it also features a character who has hope despite the adversity which is empowering and inspirational. It is beautifully written with stunning characterisation and one of the toughest and best books on abuse that I have picked up. It very much reminded me of Rupi Kaur and it's clear that talented Mann has a bright future in the publishing industry. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Penguin for an ARC.
Profile Image for Nikita Gill.
Author 21 books4,870 followers
October 24, 2020
This book deserves all the love in the world. I sobbed, it made me feel so seen. Thank you to Manjeet Mann for this gorgeous piece of work!
Profile Image for Katie.dorny.
1,016 reviews529 followers
May 25, 2021
A powerful book about the nature of rebellion and the power of reclaiming yourself.

This book follows Amber Rai, a student at secondary school with a promising athletics career. However, her home life with her controlling dad leaves her uncertain of her future.

This book highlights and discusses many topics including:

Woman’s identity and purpose, especially in a Indian community

This was a great young adult book about and written by a British woc and listening to her narrate this book was wonderful.

Prepare to have your heart broken.
Profile Image for Mara.
166 reviews219 followers
September 5, 2020
This is not an easy read but Amber Rai and her family‘s rebellion against an abusive husband and father and patriarchal systems meant to silence their female voices is a prose journey worth reading. Trigger warnings for mental and physical abuse, honor killings and bullying.
Profile Image for Endlessbibliophile.
1,120 reviews504 followers
December 28, 2021
Tak tohle bylo neuvěřitelný.
Nemám slov.
Rozhodně přidávám do oblíbených, bez zaváhání.

Temný, citlivý, realistický a děsivý příběh.
Román ve verších lepší než Elizabeth Acevedo.
Tomuhle říkám heavy contemporary.

5/5* all the way
Profile Image for Anniek.
1,873 reviews694 followers
May 17, 2020
I requested this because I saw it was a diverse verse novel. I'm a huge fan of verse novels, so that was all I needed to know.

I knew from the prologue on that this would be a truly beautifully written, feminist novel. And it honestly only got better.

This book is about Amber Rai, who wants to be an athlete. She lives with her illiterate parents who hardly speak English, and so they need her to translate for them and to help them navigate in a society they don't understand. Her father is an alcoholic, he's abusive, and he's very misogynistic. All Amber wants to do is be able to make her own choices, and not have her life planned for her like her sister's.

The themes made this quite a heavy read, but it was also very hopeful and empowering. There's a lot of depth and a lot of character development, and not just from the main character. I'm honestly in awe with how well written this was, and with how the author needed so few words to make such a strong point.

Rep: Indian MC

CWs: parental and domestic abuse, alcoholism, panic attacks, bullying, mention of an honour killing, vomiting, mentions of diets
Profile Image for ftnrsnn.
165 reviews12 followers
April 16, 2020
Rating: 8/5

In some cultures, it’s a curse when you’re born as a girl instead of a boy. No one ever wanted a girl. Girls were deemed as a burden and their whole life will forever be the property of their parents, husband and brothers. They have to give up their decision-making power, be small, be silent, endure and never question!

But when the Rebels start to stand up for their rights, revolution will follow and eventually the throne that so long been dictated by weak men will be overthrown by the strong spirits that will never get tired to fight for their freedom and peace!

Run, Rebel is a tale of Rebel and Revolution. I thought this book was going to be a difficult read for me, but surprisingly I’m hooked from the very first page. I kept flipping pages like there’s no tomorrow (might sound over-exaggerating), but this book is really unputdownable. It’s so empowering, every word, every verse, it screams a sad and sobering reality of women in the patriarchal world.

Amber Rai is a rebel! Born in a family where threats and violence are part of every day’s show, Amber knows that she has to do something. She must free herself from these patriarchal ideals instil in women that they must serve – serve the man in your house, serve your family, serve everyone but not yourselves. She knows it’s wrong, and she has to break free from the custody that keeps chaining women into living their life according to ridiculous culture’s system.

Amber’s story resonates well with the plight of the world’s women and girls today and some of the pages hit really close to home. When a woman is expected to obediently fulfill their responsibilities ‘as a woman’ but at the same time have to become the sole provider to bring food to the table while ‘the man of the house’ is just being the man of the house, remains incompetent.

This book is so satisfying brilliant. It’s been told in verse which I really love. Another gem that I think doesn’t get enough recognition it deserved. It’s a moving story and profoundly inspiring. A must read book!!

If you’re a man, read this book for yourself. Learn from it. Raise your son to never be a part of culture that glorify discrimination and sexism. Break the cycle by boosting your sons’ awareness of the value of others, including women.

If you’re a woman, pick this book for yourself.
Read it to your daughter, to your mother.
Share it with your sisters, your girlfriends.

Profile Image for Megan.
453 reviews77 followers
January 1, 2021
Thank you to Penguin Random House UK for gifting me an ARC

Run, Rebel was incredible, beautiful, real and heartbreaking. It's the first 5 star I have given a book since 2017 and yes your reading that right. I'm so picky with my ratings but this made me feel so many emotions and I even tabbed up the book and I never do that. I haven't had a book impact me like this in a very long time and it was my first ever book in verse too and I now need many more!
Profile Image for Hannah Middleton.
177 reviews3 followers
February 21, 2020
Totally immersive & fast-paced verse novel with a likeable but flawed heroine who is caught between her own dreams & the expectations of her family. Powerful, shocking but ultimately hopeful, this an arresting & impressive debut. I loved it!
Profile Image for Tamara.
52 reviews20 followers
February 11, 2020
A breathtaking verse novel, about patriarchy, privilege, and generational trauma. Framed around the notion of An Anatomy of a Revolution, it’s a powerful insight into how the strength of women can overcome oppression, but it doesn’t present simple answers. The struggle is read, and complex, and there aren’t easy answers.
I have so many books on my TBR list that I don’t often plan to revisit books, but I’ll reread this again. You should read it too.
41 reviews1 follower
February 10, 2020
Thank you netgalley for this arc.

This is a novel in verse.

Powerful,devastating, outstanding.

Trigger warnings for domestic violence.
Profile Image for Anika.
Author 3 books48 followers
February 2, 2020
Thank you Netgalley for this ARC!

Wow. I sped through this because it was so intense and easy to read. I know - intense and easy shouldn't go together but it just does.

This book really tugs at your heartstrings. I love that the story is told in verse because I don't believe it would have been as good had it been written traditionally. The sparsity of the words really hones in on all the emotions where traditional narratives would have overshadowed it.

The concept of the novel isn't anything new but the way it has been dealt with is. I really felt for Amber and her Mum and seeing them both come out of their shells was amazing. The book didn't leave you with false hope - it didn't say it was going to be okay, but it did say you have to try no matter what.
Profile Image for Sarah Churchill.
472 reviews1,175 followers
December 2, 2021
It's been a long time since I read a novel written in verse, and honestly I forgot how much I love it (when it's done well of course!)

Run, Rebel explores a number of topics including domestic violence, poverty, bullying, immigration and the role of women within the Pakistani community. The big thing that stood out to me about this story and the way it's presented is how REAL it all feels. I felt Amber's fear, her anger, her jealousy... all of it struck me harder than I think it would have had this been written in a traditional novel format. It also makes it a very quick read, not only because of the format but because of how sucked in I got to her and her family's story. Books like this remind us (because it's MUCH too easy to forget, time and time again) that we have absolutely no idea what someone else is living with.

I couldn't help thinking of a woman I met on a flight to Toronto 5 or 6 years ago. Sat next to each other for 8+ hours we struck up conversation when she commented on how much my husband and I had been enjoying playing mobile games together to pass the time on the flight, just being silly and the 'in-joke, everything is a movie reference' people that we are. She asked how long we'd been together (must have been around 5 years by then) and she was shocked that we still enjoyed each others' company so much. She shared a lot with me during that flight; about her arranged marriage, her life in London and her hopes for her daughters to have a different life. I think about her from time to time, and she's been on my mind a lot since I finished Run, Rebel. I wish I'd thought to swap details with her, so we could keep in touch. I really hope she's happy.
Profile Image for Hadia.
320 reviews8 followers
April 16, 2020
If you loved The Poet X, then you'll love this, too! Although, I did like that book, I loved this one more, maybe because it was easier to picture in my head?

This is a novel written in verse about a Punjabi family living in the UK. It follows our main character Amber Rai, who is trying to make sense of everything around her after her sister, Ruby, is forcefully married off.

She has a passion for running, but her dad, being illiterate and an alcoholic, doesn't understand. According to him, women should not leave the house unless absolutely necessary. The fact that he lets her study in high school, is because otherwise no one in their family would be able to read, write or make sense of important documents/appointments.

Her father doesn't work himself and the family lives off of her mother's meagre wages (who works 12 hours a day and does all the housework, too.), and social welfare payment. All his father does is: order Amber and her mother around to cook (the women are not allowed to eat until he has finished eating), clean and do the rest of the chores; get drunk and physically abuse her mother, while mentally and verbally abusing Amber.

Throughout the course of this poetic piece, we follow Amber, Surinder (her Mom), and Ruby's journey towards the better, and see their characters grow.

I applaud the author for writing about such a sensitive, yet important issue, that needs to be discussed. And she did this tough work brilliantly!
Profile Image for Hâf.
408 reviews38 followers
February 24, 2020
A beautiful feminist verse novel full of emotion, heartbreak and hope. An inspiring read about resilience and rebellion.
Profile Image for Lydia Hephzibah.
970 reviews46 followers
May 8, 2020
3.5 rounded up. A relatively quick read and an important own voices story, but it did leave me a little flat.
Profile Image for Hannah.
140 reviews17 followers
August 2, 2022
This book managed to communicate so much in so few words. Flicking through the book before I started reading, I thought it was a poetry book rather than a novel because a lot of the pages have a few lines on, rather than the usual full paragraphs and sentences. The writing style (edit: I found out this is called verse :D) is unique and interesting, I really loved seeing the words embody their meanings, some climbed up the pages and some were in different sized fonts, etc. I haven't seen any other book use this style except "Shatter me.", but that doesn't even come close in my opinion. Despite it's unusual form, the story was clear and beautiful, with an important and empowering message. From the perspective of the narrator: Amber, her life with it's trauma and abuse and oppression has become normal, has become her truth. This is heartbreaking. The divide in our society: council estates and treelined streets, empowered and powerless, the bullies and the bullied, male and female. Run rebel is an inspiration - to empower the powerless, give a voice to the voiceless and to rebel.
Profile Image for Izzie.
594 reviews112 followers
March 7, 2021
This was a beautiful, heartbreaking, but also hopeful book about the devastating effects trauma has in every aspect of your life, but also about being able to start healing from that trauma. While my trauma and Amber’s, the main characters, trauma stem from very different places: hers from an abusive father and mine from medical intervention, the author did an incredible job at conveying how it feels to live in fear. Despite this book being written in verse, I feel like I got to know Amber extremely well and really understood her as a character. I really liked that while this book discussed the ways in which you can heal from your past, it doesn’t pretend that healing is a straight forward process and that in the process you can often experience set backs. Overall, a book about finding freedom for yourself, the power of love, the varied effects of trauma, and that healing is possible but not easy. Highly recommend.
Profile Image for shannon✨.
1,083 reviews43 followers
July 15, 2021
This was such a powerful story. I think that the fact that it was written in verse only made this story even more powerful. I really hope no one has to go through such a situation, but I’m aware that reality is not as blissful..
Profile Image for فاطِمة طه.
329 reviews97 followers
September 8, 2022
" The whole world needs a shake and a hug right now, Amber.
The whole world. "

Starting from the writing style "verse novel" going through the content itself.

Honor killing/ crimes, domestic violence,  women, girls, feminine, education, poverty, environment and circumstances, women, girls, friendship, bullying, women, girls, traumas, being a she/ her.
All of this in one  novel! All of this I wanted to read about.

Each character is a story itself but my all time favorites were JASS! TARA AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST THE MOM!

One of the shortcomings from my point of view is it was so happy to be real I am not saying it was forced happy ending cause it wasn't at all, I just felt like it was too good to be true. Even though I  was in a bad need for happy ending. And when I read the Q&As section I found out the  author herself thought it was kinda strange and she wrote it " Darker" according to others opinions.

NB: it's the most beautiful cover I have in my bookshelves. And I am so happy to own this book.
Profile Image for Vanessa.
114 reviews
May 12, 2022
Sped through this in one sitting! Even had a tear in my eyes at a few points.
Profile Image for Maisy.
66 reviews
April 19, 2023
I really liked the concept of Run Rebel, its important messaging and what is was attempting to do, but for me the execution just fell short. I found it difficult to follow and felt disconnected to the characters.

It massively came across prioritising style over substance and I actually think this story would have been better suited to and more impactful as prose…
February 12, 2020
This book was breath taking from start to finish. I couldn't put it down.I cried, I laughed, I got angry. It was like a roller coaster of emotions.

It's a book about privilege, patriarchy, female empowerment and trauma. It's not an easy read and the main character "Amber' isn't always likeable, but that is what makes it so real. I don't often re-read books but I dog-eared so many pages, I'll definitely be dipping in again.

It really is a must read.
Profile Image for Keziah.
24 reviews
June 12, 2021
Run, Rebel is the fourth novel in verse that I have read. I thought this book was absolutely astounding. The use of repetition, bold text and different font size had me gripped. Since it was set in a nearby area to mine, I found it was very easy for me to relate and understand what was going on. This is such an empowering book which I will surely recommend to all my peers. I think my favourite character was Surinder Rai (the mother) as we not only see her struggles with an abusive partner, being illiterate and struggling to be independent , we also get to see her journey and her confidence grow which must make her daughter so proud. I rate this book 5/5 stars and am truly excited to discover and read more of Manjeet Mann's work.
Profile Image for Heather W.
879 reviews11 followers
January 9, 2023
A hard hitting emotional story that I was gripped by. Highly recommend
Displaying 1 - 30 of 288 reviews

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