Being Amani – Annabelle Steele

Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Amani wants to start all over again in order to move on from the past. A year ago, that night happened. The one that’s meant she’s moved to a new city, to gain a new life with her mother. Manchester has shown Amani that her life will still continue – friendships and crushes will still be part of the everyday problems she will face.

But, can you ever truly run from your past? Amani discovers she is looking for happiness in all the wrong places and must first confront her past in order to build a new future.

Before reading it, it’s worth knowing that the central storyline features around domestic violence, as well as focusing on mental health and toxicity in relationships.

There are flashbacks through the book which give us some insight into the abusive home Amani was living in. After her and her mother escape to Manchester, she now needs to learn how to navigate her new life…whilst also dealing with the trauma she has been exposed to.

There are a lot of heavy themes within this book which, as a reader, mean you become heavily invested in Amani and her life. Alongside the previously mentioned themes, we also see how racism can infiltrate daily life and impact a Black teenager in the UK. It’s not only important that readers see themselves reflected in books, but also that readers can begin to unpick their own, and others behaviour, and how we can make a change to society.

As a character, Amani was someone who you felt an affinity to as the reader. You cried wit her and willed her life to be what she wants it to be. Each time her heart broke or she was let down, you felt it too. She was a character whose development I felt so invested in; I wanted so much more for her.

This was definitely a debut to remember. One that will stay in the mind of the reader once they’ve finished the final page.

If you like the sound of this book, buy it here.

Emily x

📚 Book gifted by publisher

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