YALSA William C.Morris Award Finalist
Walter Award Honor Book
Rise List Top Ten
Kirkus Books Best of the Year
In the vein of Grown and The Poet X, Hannah V. Sawyerr’s All the Fighting Parts is a searing and defiant young adult novel in verse about reclaiming agency after a sexual assault within the church community.
Sixteen-year-old Amina Conteh has always believed in using her voice as her weapon—even when it gets her into trouble. After cursing at a classmate, her father forces her to volunteer at their church with Pastor Johnson.
But Pastor Johnson isn’t the holy man everyone thinks he is.
The same voice Amina uses to fight falls quiet the night she is sexually assaulted by Pastor Johnson. After that, her life starts to unravel: her father is frustrated that her grades are slipping, and her best friend and boyfriend don’t understand why the once loud and proud girl is now quiet and distant. In a world that claims to support survivors, Amina wonders who will support her when her attacker is everyone’s favorite community leader.
When Pastor Johnson is arrested for a different crime, the community is shaken and divided; some call him a monster and others defend him. But Amina is secretly relieved. She no longer has to speak because Pastor Johnson can’t hurt her anymore—or so she believes.
To regain her voice and sense of self, Amina must find the power to confront her abuser—in the courtroom and her heart—and learn to use all the fighting parts within her.
About the Author
Hannah V. Sawyerr was recognized as the Youth Poet Laureate of Baltimore in 2016. Her spoken word has been featured on the BBC’s World Have Your Say program as well as the National Education Association’s “Do You Hear Us?” campaign. Her written word has been included in gal-dem, Rookie, and xoNecole. She holds a BA in English from Morgan State University and an MFA in creative writing from the New School. Sawyerr is an English professor at Loyola Marymount University and lives in Los Angeles.
“Gutsy and defiant, All the Fighting Parts is a battle hymn for loud-mouthed girls, and a searing invitation to all—but especially survivors—to speak their truth.”—Joy McCullough, New York Times bestselling author
“The sharp shift in tone and structure instantly divides Amina’s story into a stark before and after in the same way an assault can divide a life. But she, like most courageous victims, refuses to let divide define her. A heroic and candid debut.”—Ashley Woodfolk, critically acclaimed author of Nothing Burns as Bright as You
“Incredibly moving, beautifully written, and oh-so powerful, All the Fighting Parts is a stunning debut novel-in-verse. Hannah V. Sawyerr is a talent to watch.” —Liz Lawson, New York Times bestselling author of The Agathas, The Night in Question, and The Lucky O
“Perfect for readers of Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson and The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, All the Fighting Parts is an honest, brilliant, and powerful novel-in-verse. Amina’s story isn’t just about a girl who survives sexual assault. Readers will root for her as she journeys through survival, grief of losing a parent, and the role faith can play in finding oneself. A mixed media novel filled with smart writing and honest poetry, Sawyerr tackles difficult topics like religion, sexuality, and survival with tenderness and care. A must read for anyone who has ever felt the words ‘me too’ in their heart.”—Dante Medema, author of The Truth Project
“From the very first pages of All the Fighting Parts, Amina grabbed me with her will to not just survive but thrive. Raw, no-nonsense verse digs deep into Amina’s emotions as she fights her way back after sexual assault to find her voice and reclaim her life. An incredible, empowering book.”—Kip Wilson, award-winning author of White Rose and The Most Dazzling Girl in Berlin
“A powerful story about what must be done with silence. Sawyerr gives us the answer that we all need to hear: Break it.”—Olivia A. Cole, author of Dear Medusa
"This book is a victory."—Mark Oshiro, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"A lightning bolt of a debut."—Jordan Ifueko, New York Times bestselling author of Raybearer
"Amina’s emotional growth and experiences in therapy feel authentic, leading to a satisfying ending that is properly earned. An unforgettable story of healing told through phenomenal poetry."—Kirkus
"Achingly profound and inspiring; a must for all collections.."—School Library Journal
"[A] compelling debut novel about hard truths, healing, strength, and tenderness."—Booklist