Punching the Air by ibi Zoboi, Yusef Salaam


Punching the AirPunching the Air by ibi Zoboi, Yusef Salaam
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
Pages: 400
Rating: ★★★★
Source: From the Publisher
Genre: Prejudice & Racism, Social Themes, Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
About the Book

From award-winning, bestselling author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five, comes a powerful YA novel in verse about a boy who is wrongfully incarcerated. Perfect for fans of Jason Reynolds, Walter Dean Myers, and Elizabeth Acevedo.

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

starts today

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.

Punching the Air Review

Where do I even start with this one? Punching the Air is a powerful and emotional novel in verse. I’m honestly not someone who normally likes novels in verse, but I couldn’t put this one down from the moment I picked it up.

It is a perfectly relevant novel for what is going on in America and around the world today. It talks about the school to prison pipeline, racial discrimination and injustice, wrongful incarceration, and the failures of the judicial system in America.

Punching the Air is insightful, devastating, incredible, inspiring, and just so vital. If this book wasn’t on your radar before, you need to add it to your #tbr pile if you haven’t already.  It’s available in all bookstores now.

Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Huge thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy for review.