Punching the Air Review

Ebook, 400 Pages
YA/ Poetry/ Verse
By: Ibi Zoboi , Yusef Salaam
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟

“Don’t ever stop dreaming big
But for now, put that dream on paper
It’s easier to carry around”

Punching the Air is a novel written in verse about 16 year old Amal, who is convicted of a crime he did not commit because he is black. I think we all know the injustice and discrimination against the black community. Amal is also Muslim and although the story did not indulge on that aspect, it is also widely known how Islamophobia affects all Muslims one way or another.

I like novels written in verse because I find them refreshing and something out of the box. I belie it is not as easy as it sounds to write a story with depth and everything only in verse. This was my first time reading something by Ibi Zoboi and I am glad I did. The co-author is Yusef Salaam who has been convicted of a crime he did not commit years ago. This is not Yusef’s story but it is definitely inspired by it and that makes it more realistic.

The writing is good, writing in verse is tricky because you have to write in a certain style while maintaining the story without making it sounds too silly or too flowery. I think this was achieved here. The story discusses important thing as discrimination against minorities which I think is clear from the synopsis but it also dives into the importance of art and literature in reaching out. I think that was beautiful!

Summary: Not much to say except for Black Lives Matter and read this book!


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