About the Book
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.
We’re here. We’re alive, and we got each other. We keep surviving. That’s not nothing, right?Christina Hammonds Reed
Los Angeles, 1992
No, I don’t care about any of it now. But I will.Christina Hammonds Reed
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.
You’re more than your mistakes.Christina Hammonds Reed
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?
What a poignant and (sadly) extremely prevalent book for right now. Seriously, this book made me stop so many times and take a moment to reflect and think about how important the passage I just read was. Even though this is a historical fiction (and I’m still in denial that the 90s are historical, I swear they were just yesterday), the book feels current. Which is both a sad thing, given the topic, and really quite interesting. It also reiterates my feeling of the 90s being yesterday.
When you get used to bad men, you start not believing in good men. Even when they’re right in front of your face. You think maybe he’s hiding the bad for later, like the last one.Christina Hammonds Reed
So, I want to start off by talking about the good and happy things. Because I think we all need a little bit of that dashed in right now. I love that this book is set in the not so distant past. It’s a wonderful little throw back and mini historical fiction, but it still covers the prominent events of the time. And I just love how real the characters are. They’re teenagers dealing with awful and scary things, but even through all of the hurt they take the time to act their age and do regular teenager-y things. And I think that is so important to depict, because amidst all of the bad things life does go on and it’s important to not forget about that.
One woman will cry and one woman will laugh, and their voices will echo off the walls so that you won’t be sure which one of them is doing which.Christina Hammonds Reed
I think what I loved most about this book is that it was a story based off of the characters. We get a look into the historical events and protesting that was going on during the time through the lens of a few designated individuals. And to me this just made the story and the events more realistic and more personal. It helps to put a face to who was impacted, who got away with evil deeds, and who did not get so lucky. This is definitely a book that it going to be extremely important to many people and it will also hopefully shed some light on what it means to be black in America.
About the Author
Christina Hammonds Reed holds an MFA in Film and Television Production from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. Her short fiction has previously appeared in the Santa Monica Review. She lives in Hermosa Beach, CA.
*I received an arc in exchange for an honest review*