When Morning Comes gives voice to the many diverse characters in the South African Soweto uprising. It is written from the Points of View of young South Africans of different genders, ethnicities, and economic background. The events of the novel follow the real-life events of the uprisings, interlacing the fiction with much needed content on the history. It is written with simple elegant prose, I started this book and finished it within the weekend, definitely a page turner.
Amazing amazing book! Was not able to put this one down. The characters all come to life in a way that you feel and connect with each of them. I highly recommend this book to all readers. It will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The Soweto Uprising is such an important moment in South African history, yet it's difficult to sense the magnitude of it through history books. This book takes on the voices of four different young adults – each with uniquely South African voices – that you'll end up rooting for as though you are personally entangled.
The characters represent different racial segments of the South African population, but they are not typecast. Each has such a distinct voice and sense of humor; you sometimes forget it’s a historical novel. Zanele – the main character – is especially memorable. She takes risks for hundreds of her peers and does so in her own terms. It’s unusual to find a strong female lead of color that is not afraid to sing terribly and is truly unconcerned about having scraggly short hair at times.
This book is an exhilarating and absorbing read, and an impressive debut. I can’t wait to read the author’s future novels.
Intertwined with the real life events which occurred under Apartheid in 1976 South Africa, readers follow four young adult narrators as their lives gradually converge with each other and the monumental events of the Soweto Student Uprising. Each character crafted by Raina gives unique and historically-informed insights into the conditions before, during, and after this crucial and relevant moment in very-recent history.
Skillfully crafted and perfectly paced, she keeps readers engrossed through suspense, drama, comedy, and just the right amount of romance. A page-turner from start to finish, I picked this book up and did not put it down until the back cover. Employing an accessible and informative glossary of local terms and phrases used by characters, as well as links to more resources for those who want to learn about the resistance against Apartheid, this book can be both a valuable resource and a starting point for further learning.
For YA-enthusiasts, students, teachers, activists, and life-long learners, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. This story gives representation and voice to a time, place, narratives, and people who deserve more recognition and from whom so much can be learned. #WeNeedDiverseBooks like this!
Set in South Africa in 1976, When Morning Comes follows four young people in the events leading up to, during, and after the Soweto Uprising. Told from four perspectives, the reader is immediately drawn in to observe how gradually the narrators’ lives intertwine.
When Morning Comes is the perfect balance of the drama, romance, and practical comedy of a young adult novel and the deeper political exploration of robust historical fiction. It delves into issues of race and social class, illustrating how societal conditions affect individual lives, while maintaining a fast-paced plot. I was particularly drawn to the character of Zanele, whose strength will inspire young readers to stand up for what they believe in.
Adults and younger people alike will appreciate this page-turner for its depth, eloquence, and suspense. I look forward to reading Ms. Raina’s future works.
Four distinct voices interweave to bring the 1976 Soweto uprising to life, a painful and seminal moment in the history of South Africa. Realistic portrayals and believable action and tension. The spectre of Apartheid hovers over every scene, but each of the characters embodies resilience in one form or another. Highly recommended.
What a powerful story! My heart's still pounding. And I learned so much. I knew about apartheid, or thought I did. But the Soweto Riots were new to me. They happened when I was six years old, and so far this is the first thing I've ever read about them.
I loved how different the four MCs (one white, one Indian, two black) were, how they showed the life of Johannesburg and the story of the Riots from such different angles. I loved how raw and real their stories felt -- nothing too neat or predictable. How things didn't work out as they expected or planned, and sometimes they hardly knew themselves why they were making certain choices or what they would do next. It made the story feel visceral and immediate; it also made them all very believable adolescents.
The writing style is powerful too -- spare but not simplistic. It fits the profile of YA, but it could easily crossover to the adult market (and I think it should).
I've read a review which seemed mildly critical of the way Raina plunges the reader into the setting and peppers the narrative with Zulu and/or Afrikaaner slang which at first can be a bit hard for a North American reader to understand. But often the meaning of these phrases is pretty easy to infer from the context, and if not there's a perfectly fine glossary at the back and it doesn't take long to catch up. (Personally, if I could get away with saying "Thula wena" without being an obnoxious mlungu I would, because a milder version of "shut up" could be very handy.)
For parents and others wondering about "content" issues, there is certainly some violence (for obvious reasons, because it was a violent incident in South African history), but it's not excessively or gorily described -- the style is more journalistic than sensuous (which in a way makes it hit even harder, because you can imagine what's not being said). The book has three or four profanities at most, and always in Afrikaans (not that you can't guess what the word is, but it doesn't have quite the same effect as seeing it in English). No blasphemy or anti-religious content. Sexuality is minimal and of the fade-to-black variety, so less explicit than many books teens are reading in high school.
Anyway, this is a very fine book and more people should read it. I hope they do.