Book Reviews

Review: I’m Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones & Gilly Segal

Told over a few hours, I’m Not Dying with You is a fast paced story taking place over the course of a night. It’s an audio book I almost finished in one day. Not only was it non-stop action, the audio book sweeps you away in tension, uncomfortable silence, and running feet. Keep reading this book review to see my full thoughts!

Summary

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.

Review

TW: racism, assault, police brutality

I’m Not Dying with You Tonight was a story where the action and tension builds with each page. This dual POV novel allows readers to see both of their perspectives – the ways Campbell sees the wreckage of her life and the ways Lena is trying to chase happiness. Their strength, bravery, vulnerability, and the way responsibility and danger are thrust upon them. It’s a book that challenges both Campbell and Lena to see the other’s lives, fears, and dreams.

We are shown the ways Lena’s world is different because she’s Black and the ways Campbell never examined her own life, and privilege, until now. I’m Not Dying with You Tonight was even more emotional after this year’s Black Lives Matter protests. The ways the racism is boiling over, how it can overflow in a city and spill over on the streets. This book is a story about being thrown together and seeing the person under our assumptions.

Listening to the audio book made time pass by so quickly! I loved how emotionally expressive the narrators were. You can hear the hope and desperation infused in the audio book. While I’m Not Dying with You Tonight revolves around action, it’s also firmly rooted in characters. Their feelings during these events and the ways their own mindsets are changing as they run. We are reminded about the bonds that can be formed in fire. And that the opportunity to stop the chain of wrongs can always be stopped. It won’t erase the past or the hatred, but it is the beginning to stop the cycle.

Find I’m Not Dying with You Tonight on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.

Discussion

What is your favorite YA book that tackles racism?


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