A YA contemporary novel that takes readers through the events of a riot through the eyes of 2 teenage girls
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With everything that is happening with Black Lives Matter and the way society is handling the devastating deaths of Black people, it becomes even more important to read and promote books that speak on these issues. I’ve noticed that I’ve not usually sought out books that speak about these experiences – but my goal is to actively look for books written by Ownvoices and do my part in uplifting them.
I'm Not Dying with You Tonight
Published July 6, 2019 by Sourcebooks Fire
Data from Goodreads
Lena has her killer style, her awesome boyfriend, and a plan. She knows she’s going to make it big. Campbell, on the other hand, is just trying to keep her head down and get through the year at her new school.
When both girls attend the Friday-night football game, what neither expects is for everything to descend into sudden mass chaos. Chaos born from violence and hate. Chaos that unexpectedly throws them together.
They aren’t friends. They hardly understand the other’s point of view. But none of that matters when the city is up in flames, and they only have each other to rely on if they’re going to survive the night.
My Review: An Important Read
After reading this novel, all I could think was, “Wow, this novel is so relevant to the current situation.”
I’ve never been in a riot. My only knowledge of it is from the news and from others’ experiences. This novel does a superb job of exploring the events that can incite a riot, as well as how quickly things can become dangerous. It also shows how fear runs rampant in everyone, regardless of their race, in the face of violence.
The novel has a fast pace, showing how quickly a school rally can turn into a full-on riot that spills out into the community. Campbell and Lena, our two protagonists, are such polar opposites, but they are in a shared predicament. It is through their conversation that we uncover their racial prejudices, and see how they are forced to reflect and change their opinions.
While this fast pace quickens the plot, it also hindered the chances for true character development.
And here lies my biggest issue with the novel. I wanted to immerse myself in the story, to gain a deeper connection with the characters, especially Lena. However, the pacing and lack of details just wouldn’t allow me to do so.
Lena had so much sass and was always putting up a strong front. But I wanted to get to know her better, and truly connect with her character. Campbell was a very naive girl, and I wanted to see more growth and change in her. There were so many other characters that were introduced, but they disappeared as quickly as they left.
I also wanted the two protagonists to have more of a conversation with each other. They had some particularly deep moments that could have been explored more, could have had a greater impact. And yet, the pacing and plot stopped this from happening.
Regardless, I still think this is an important book to read. With the current political climate in America, it is important for books that explore all elements of a Black person’s experience to be promoted and read. This novel brings a lot to the table and allows readers to engage in meaningful discussions on racial prejudices and tension that currently exist in America, both in the adult community and with the youth. I would still strongly recommend this to people so that they get to read from a unique perspective. For those reasons, I’m giving it 3/5 stars.