Lisa Heathfield has been one of my auto-buy authors since i picked up Flight of a Starling a couple of years ago. Her writing is absolutely stunning and always covers some more intense topics which i really appreciate. I couldn’t have been happier to see her return to YALC this year with her latest release, I Am Not A Number, and i definitely couldn’t wait to pick it up.
I started I Am Not A Number knowing very little about it, all i knew was that it was political and had elements of the holocaust. Other than that i wanted to go in without knowing very much. This is the perfect book to do that with because it truly sucks you in to the characters lives and what is happening around them. I don’t want to spoil too much about the book so i’m going to keep this review pretty spoiler free.
The book focuses mainly on the political aspects of the world and who is in power. I rarely read political stories as they just usually don’t sit with me right. But i loved the tone in this one and the structure of the story. It highlighted the issues with the system incredibly well and gave a true insight in to how the current leaders wanted the country to run.
It didn’t feel too political due to the fact we were following the main character Ruby through her experiences under the leadership of the ‘Trads’. We find out about her family, her friends and how her life has changed since the Trads came in to power. Lisa did this in a really interesting way where we were introduced to other characters and their stories through Ruby. Such as her friends from school and their parents, and therefore got to find out what happened to them under this leadership. It gave a really good general view on how politics effect everyone.
This story, as expected, was completely and utterly heartbreaking. I truly love Lisa’s work, but all of her stories have made me sob uncontrollably so much that i can’t stop thinking about them days later. I appreciate a book that makes you feel something, and this definitely made you feel everything from Ruby’s perspective. It was incredible how Lisa linked events like this to ones almost one-hundred years ago, and made everything feel so utterly human and modern once again.
I think this is a book that’s needed in YA at the moment. Many people are losing touch with trauma and what it’s like to have leaders with such power (lol i know), and it’s really good to have that refreshed in your mind again. It echos some of the statements made in recently months from political leaders and truly shows devastating effects of wrong leadership.
Don’t let this slip under the radar because it truly is a wonderful book, with such heartfelt perspective and wonderful writing.