Book Review: GREEN RISING by Lauren James

Title in white on dark blue next to hand with le
Genre: Sci-Fi/cli-fi
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: standalone


Book cover for GREEN RISING: title in white on black below a tree shaped like a hand

Gabrielle is a climate-change activist who shoots to fame when she becomes the first teenager to display a supernatural ability to grow plants from her skin. Hester is the millionaire daughter of an oil tycoon and the face of the family business. Theo comes from a long line of fishermen, but his parents are struggling to make ends meet.

On the face of it, the three have very little in common. Yet when Hester and Theo join Gabrielle and legions of other teenagers around the world in developing the strange new “Greenfingers” power, it becomes clear that to use their ability for good, they’ll need to learn to work together. But in a time of widespread corruption and greed, there are plenty of profit-hungry organizations who want to use the Greenfingers for their own ends. And not everyone would like to see the Earth saved…

As they navigate first love and family expectations, can the three teenagers pull off the ultimate heist and bring about a green rising?

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


GREEN RISING is a call to resist corporate damage to the world and work to restore nature instead. While tackling a big, pretty intimidating crisis facing us, it has hope that change can happen, if we work together and put pressure on governments. The book also delves into the lies oil producers spin to claim it’s not their fault, the false science they fund to bury a truth they’ve known about for decades, and the sleight-of-hand lines employed to make it look like they’re doing something.

Obviously we don’t have the plant magic that the teenagers having the book, but it makes for a visual (and narratively engaging) way of showing what can be done to stop climate change. Plus plant magic is very cool to read about.

While the book has three main characters with greenfingeredness, only two narrate. Theo and Hester tell the story of what’s happening in the chapters, while Gabrielle’s effect is seen through their chapters and the multi-media (sometimes called mixed media!) elements scattered between the chapters. It was really interesting to see a major character through others’ eyes (and the press’!)

I love multi-media and I feel like it’s definitely a hallmark of Lauren James’ books. You can almost guarantee that you’ll get to see the events through more eyes than just the narrators. There are forum posts, video transcripts, and news headlines. You get comments from all sides of the debates, including a look at the denial and focus shifting rhetoric used online.

In all, it’s a highly relevant book, thought-provoking as well as being a well-written, entertaining read.

Read my reviews of other books by Lauren James:


Gottie Writes:

The Watchmaker and the Duke:


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