The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed | Book Review

I received this book for free from Library, Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed | Book ReviewThe Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed
Published by Simon and Schuster on August 4, 2020
Genres: 20th Century, African American & Black, Coming of Age, Historical, People & Places, United States, Young Adult Fiction
Pages: 368
Format: eARC, Hardcover
Source: Library, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
ISBN: 9781534462748
Goodreads
five-stars

A New York Times bestseller A William C. Morris Award Finalist
“Should be required reading in every classroom.” —Nic Stone, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin “A true love letter to Los Angeles.” —Brandy Colbert, award-winning author of Little & Lion “A brilliantly poetic take on one of the most defining moments in Black American history.” —Tiffany D. Jackson, author of Grown and Monday’s Not Coming
Perfect for fans of The Hate U Give, this unforgettable coming-of-age debut novel explores issues of race, class, and violence through the eyes of a wealthy black teenager whose family gets caught in the vortex of the 1992 Rodney King Riots.
Los Angeles, 1992
Ashley Bennett and her friends are living the charmed life. It’s the end of senior year and they’re spending more time at the beach than in the classroom. They can already feel the sunny days and endless possibilities of summer.
Everything changes one afternoon in April, when four LAPD officers are acquitted after beating a black man named Rodney King half to death. Suddenly, Ashley’s not just one of the girls. She’s one of the black kids.
As violent protests engulf LA and the city burns, Ashley tries to continue on as if life were normal. Even as her self-destructive sister gets dangerously involved in the riots. Even as the model black family façade her wealthy and prominent parents have built starts to crumble. Even as her best friends help spread a rumor that could completely derail the future of her classmate and fellow black kid, LaShawn Johnson.
With her world splintering around her, Ashley, along with the rest of LA, is left to question who is the us? And who is the them?

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed has one of my favorite book covers of 2020. As shallow as it sounds, I just knew I had to read this book. Frankly, I am SO glad I picked it up. The Black Kids is an insightful historical fiction book about a Black girl who is coming of age during the Rodney King riots in 1992. Reed’s debut is excellent and I am looking forward to reading whatever else she releases during what is sure to be a bright career.

Ashley Bennett is about to graduate high school. She is in AP classes. Ashley lives in a good neighborhood and her parents have great jobs. She goes to an expensive private school. Ashley is Black, popular, a cheerleader, and her best friends are white. Things seem fine, except that Rodney King has just been attacked brutally by the police on video. The trial is happening as are riots happening throughout LA. People are on edge. Ashley discovers that her white friends don’t really have her back or understand. We see the microaggressions that she endures. And well, Ashley’s perspective is different – she’s well off. Still, that doesn’t protect her from experiencing the microaggressions and overt aggression from her so-called friends.

I really genuinely loved The Black Kids. Not because Reed’s debut is easy to read or feel good. I thought this book was authentic. Ashley is a flawed person — she’s allowed to be three dimensional and real. Also, this book is so unique. It is historical fiction that is not set during Slavery or the 1950s-60s Civil Rights era. I’ve never read a book that had the Rodney King riots as part of the historical era setting. It was a really excellent framing device. We also see intergenerational trauma where another piece of history is discussed.

The Black Kids is a must read, must have on the shelves for young adults. Although Ashley makes the mistakes of youth, you can’t help but root for her. There’s so much depth within The Black Kids, a lot to discuss and explore. Add this book to your TBR immediately.


five-stars
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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.

Comments

  1. I still have feelings about the 90s being historical fiction lol. I can’t wait to read this, Ashley sounds like a character you really dig into.

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