Book Review: We Didn’t Ask For This


Margaret Szpakowski

This is the title page of We Didn’t Ask For This, by Adi Alsaid.

Margaret Szpakowski, Editor in Chief

We Didn’t Ask For This, by Adi Alsaid, is the story of a lock-in night turned into a climate protest by students locking themselves to the doors. The book balances this political, relevant premise with a true understanding of student voices for a book that is both enjoyable and important.

Today, a lock-in night feels like a fantasy. Students meeting together in person, carrying on traditions; it’s something we’ve lost. But there’s a lot more that we’re going to be losing if we don’t change the path of climate change, so this book, despite the pandemic, doesn’t feel nostalgic. It feels like a wake-up call.

Teenagers are making change, and they can continue to do so. We didn’t ask for this pandemic. We didn’t ask for coral reefs to be bleached. We didn’t ask to be the future of a country getting further from our ideals at an alarming rate. But what Alsaid’s enormous cast of teenagers tells us is that teenager’s choice isn’t what to ask for; it’s what to demand.

We can make change, even if we can’t vote. We can call on our parents, our celebrities, our politicians, and our communities to do better. We can be like Marisa Cuevas and ask for each other to do better, whether that’s by locking ourselves to doors or simply asking someone to wear their mask correctly.

If you’re looking for inspiration to do better yourself, Alsaid’s book is a great place to start. And if you’re looking for a place to speak, then the Smoke Signal is ready to hear you.

Feel free to share books that give you inspiration in the comment section below this article.