Watch Us Riseby Renée Watson, Ellen Hagan Published 12 Feb 2019
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Jasmine and Chelsea are sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women's Rights Club. They post everything online—poems, essays, videos of Chelsea performing her poetry, and Jasmine's response to the racial macroaggressions she experiences—and soon they go viral. But with such positive support, the club is also targeted by online trolls. When things escalate, the principal shuts the club down. Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices—and those of other young women—to be heard.
"Watch Us Rise" Reviews
THIS WAS SO GOOD I WANT TO SCREAM
Y'all, this book was SO FUCKING GOOD. Going into it I was worried it was going to take me a long time to read because it's def not a short book, but I absolutely FLEW through it and fell head over heels for Jasmine & Chelsea's friendship. This is the perfect book for someone who is somewhat new to feminism and wants to read something that will gradually ease them into it. This was so compelling and well written and I JUST LOVED IT A LOT OKAY YOU NEED TO READ IT
(ALSO- the reason I'm rating this 4 and not 5 stars is because I'm not really a fan of poetry and this has A LOT of that in it. I enjoyed the themes of the poems, but I'd be lying if I said that I didn't struggle connecting to them. So, 4 stars!)
TW: death of a parent, fatphobia, blatant racism
Absolutely amazing. One of the greatest takes on feminism - and more importantly, intersectional feminism that I've seen in a very long time. WATCH US RISE has amazing characters, writing, pacing, message, and so much power.
I cannot wait for this to come out next February because I am sure that this will change the YA book community.
hot take: books like this make feminism look like a complete joke.
I talked about his book during my worst books of the year video starting at 17:30 - while I wish I could have liked this book, I completely stand by the fact that while this book had good intentions, its portrayal of social justice issues is so tone deaf that the events of the story are more hilarious than empowering.
video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZraAA...
Thanks to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy.
I'm going against the tide of other reviews here but this book was just too much. It almost reads as a parody of social justice discourse.
The novel follows the stories of Chelsea and Jasmine, two intersectional teenage feminists living in New York City. These two young women must exist in a state of constant mental exhaustion as they find issue with almost every single thing in the world around them.
At their school every student has to join a social justice club and even the Science class is officially the 'Science of Social Justice'. I'm no expert on the American education system but I'm guessing that public schools are bound to some kind of local or State standards? Not this school. Forget Covalent Bonds or the Theory of Relativity, they are going to study the Use of Human Subjects in Medical Research and Climate Change and Racism instead. Good luck on the SATs I guess.
The villain is a pretty white girl. The issues are shoehorned in with all the subtlety of a 6ft tall Peacock playing the Tuba. It's simply too much for one book to try and cover this many issues without it coming across as unrealistic and frankly absurd.
I actually felt drained reading this book. As a proud intersectional feminist who cares passionately about equity and social justice I didn't feel inspired, I felt like these important issues ended up as a bit of a joke. The poetry was quite good though. Really sorry, just not for me.
You know how, sometimes, you can tell almost immediately that a writing style isn't going to work for you? Yeah... sigh. That was me with this book. I disliked the narrative voice from literally the first page, and a few chapters in, it hadn't gotten any less frustrating. It's not bad, it's just extremely heavy-handed, if that makes sense. It feels like the authors tried to hold the readers' hands through every step of the messages about intersectionality, diversity, and feminism, which is great for a young reader or someone who's new to intersectional feminism and to equitable treatment! There is absolutely nothing wrong with this book or how it's written, it just didn't work at all for me, an adult who is already familiar with the topics being covered within this story.
Will I recommend this book to younger readers? Absolutely! Do I have any desire to finish reading it myself? ... sadly, no.
Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!