Title : Punching The Air
Author : Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam
Publisher : HarperCollins
Pages : 400
Genre : Verse Novel
The story that I thought
was my life
didn’t start on the day
I was born
Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, he’s seen as disruptive and unmotivated by a biased system. Then one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. “Boys just being boys” turns out to be true only when those boys are white.
The story that I think
will be my life
Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal’s bright future is upended: he is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it?
With spellbinding lyricism, award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam tell a moving and deeply profound story about how one boy is able to maintain his humanity and fight for the truth, in a system designed to strip him of both.
I can’t begin to tell how distraught and shaken I am after reading this one. It’s like somebody has just hit me in the gut. This book resonated with me in ways I didn’t think was possible. This is my very first novel in verse, and I must say it was more profound because of the same.
Amal is just like any other ordinary boy, until he is wrongfully accused and convicted by a system that believes being Black is a crime in itself. He leans on his poetry, his art to express himself and put forth his predicament.
Amal helps us picture his world by putting us readers in his shoes and the injustice, cruelty and discrimination are way too much to bear. I didn’t know a novel in verse could be so well put forward. I’m glad that I got a chance to read and review this book, and all I can say is that each and everyone of you should pick this one up.
Also, there are illustrations all throughout the book which were really complementing the verses well.
Review by Sayantoni | @thegirlonthego_reads