Being Amani is a beautiful coming of age story by Annabelle Steele. It’s the first book to be published by Hashtag BLAK, a new imprint that publishes diverse and inclusive books.
It’s also the debut release from Annabelle who is a primary school teacher from Manchester. She has been writing YA and children’s books since she was a child. Her books explore mental health, relationships and the realities of being part of a minority group living in the UK.
Her writing includes Black protagonists and she recognises that there are still not enough positive Black characters in bookshops for children and teens to relate to. She’s passionate about supporting those struggling with mental health.
In 2017 published an adult colouring book called Positivity Ink with all proceeds going to MIND.
It’s been over a year since that night and Amani hopes that starting all over again will help her move on from the past. So, when she moves to a new city, Amani wants to focus on her new life, her best friends and the boy she’s been crushing on but everything is falling apart and Amani finds herself looking for happiness in all the wrong places. Can Amani confront the ghosts of her pasts so she can become the girl she’s always wanted to be?
Being Amani is a beautiful debut from Annabelle Steele. It does deal with sensitive issues that some may find triggering. Growing up, mental health, domestic abuse and anxiety attacks are dealt with within the story, so please bear that in mind.
Everyone now and then as a reader you come across books that have characters you want ever forget. Even if you forget bit of the story from which they come from, you don’t forget them. Amani is one of those characters. She’s instantly likeable. Her voice is loud, clear and one that you connect with on the first page. She is truly a beautiful soul who goes through a lot. You spend most of the story just wanting to give her a big hug.
Annabelle has a way of writing that conveys the pure emotion a character is feeling so you feel you truly understand them. She covers topics which many shy away from when it comes to YA books. When the reality is these need to be discussed and discussed openly. The more it’s shown and normalised that it’s ok to include mental health in books, the more those that read it and relate to characters like Amani will realise it’s ok for them to talk about it too.
Being Amani is a beautiful and powerful debut from Annabelle Steele that makes you laugh. cry and smile, as you watch Amani figure out who she is.
You can get a copy here!