The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed | Book Review

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.


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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.

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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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