Watch Us Rise
Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan
Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Published February 12, 2019
About WATCH US RISE by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan
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.
I loved the multi-media feel of WATCH US RISE. The descriptions of art, the poetry and blog posts, all of it created this really broad reading experience for me. I loved that Jasmine and Chelsea made mistakes along the their journey as strong women– not because I wasn’t rooting for them, but because those mistakes made them so real and made me feel like it’s okay to make my own mistakes, too, because it’s part of learning. Their passion energized me.
And if that’s all there was to this story, I’d still say it was a great book, but ohmygosh there’s actually more! Romance. Family issues. Grief, loss and mourning. And all the way through, I felt so connected to the characters and what they experienced. I love that they were strong women with passionate voices advocating for themselves and others. But I also loved that they weren’t defined by their ideals, and I felt like that was a really important part of the message, too. You can be a feminist and still be interested in fashion. You can be a feminist and still idolize a man (in this case, her dad).
I realize that’s probably obvious to a lot of people, but I feel like it’s worth repeating in a world where often we distill people down to one idea or one thing and ignore the rest. At any rate, I definitely enjoyed this book and recommend it, especially to girls looking for their place and their voice in social issues.
Recommended for Ages 12 up.
Chelsea is white and Jasmine is black.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Some disparaging comments about Christianity, and some questions like, why is God referred to with masculine pronouns in the Christian faith?
In one brief scene, a fight breaks out between students over one of the girls’ blog post topics.
Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.