Wow look at me, I read a book that isn’t a Rom Com!!! It is a YA though… But the only thing YA about it is that it’s easy to read words wise. I banged it out in less than two days.
The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed
I was perusing through Barnes and Noble and saw the cover of this book and instantly knew I needed to buy it, regardless of the plot.
Ash is a black 17 year old, living in LA during her senior year of High School at a mostly white private school, she has exclusively white friends. It’s 1992. Rodney King has just been violently beat up by LAPD. Said LAPD officers were aquitted in trial, and the Riots ensue. Riots, protests, whatever you want to call them, LA was on fire, and Ash is right in the middle of it. Right in the middle of a group of white kids who mostly only care about if Prom will be canceled or not. It chronicles the days leading up to the riots, during the riots, and the aftermath in Ash’s life.
Have you ever read a book that made you feel like you were reading your own thoughts… Because this book basically summed up all of my thoughts over the last 6 months so incredibly. It hurts my soul that I can relate to a book that’s supposed to take place in 1992. How are we still dealing with the same issues? But I digress. This book summed up the “black kid in a white world” experience very well in my opinion, and I felt like Ash’s struggles as a “privileged black girl” were valid and accurate. This book was HEAVY, don’t get me wrong, but most of the story is focused on Ash and her thoughts as opposed to the actual riots, so it was a bit easier to read than I had anticipated. Did I cry several times? Yes.
Would I recommend?
For white people and non Black people: I think understanding the inner thoughts of black people is important for things liek this, and we can’t always explain exactly what’s happening inside our heads. It also brings up a lot of injustices against Black Americans (including the Watts Riots and the Black Wallstreet attack) that don’t get talked about that often.
For Black people: this was really good. Incredibly heavy, so I don’t fault you for not wanting to read any more about the disaster that is America. But for me at least, it provided an outlet that I haven’t been able to get. As a Black person that is surrounded by white people, I full heartedly related to Ash.
If you like ____ you should read it
- Black stories
- coming of age stories
- historical fiction (even if the history is only 28 years ago)
- 90s popculture references
- social justice/social commentary