And with this review of Christina Hammonds Reed’s The Black Kids, I made a bingo just under the wire. I received this for free from my Mocha Girls Read book club as it was our July sponsored book of the month.
This YA historical novel is set against the backdrop of the 1992 LA riots. From the get, I was like is it really historical?! But I have to admit it has been some time since that fateful Rodney King verdict. Ashley Bennett lives in a rich neighborhood and goes to a fancy prep school. Her sister Jo has moved out and eloped leaving Ashley at home to deal with their parents. Ashley does ok in school but skips school with her white girlfriends. This coming-of-age story follows Ashley as she comes to terms with her environment and no longer tries to fit in. She realizes maybe her friends she knew since childhood don’t have her back. And when the riots kick-off and prom night looming, things get even more complicated
As I have lived in LA for a cumulative of 15 years, this was a very intriguing premise for me. Also, I wanted to protect that small group of Black kids on scholarship with my life, especially the star athlete with more layers, LaShawn. I know all too well growing up in white spaces with unexpected microaggressions for being smart. I appreciated that Ashley wasn’t a fully sympathetic character. She doesn’t always do the right thing. She is learning what it truly means to be herself and what friendship should look like. No real danger is at play like in The Hate U Give. It has elements of Clueless while exploring issues of race and even mental illness.
I highly recommend this to YA fiction lovers and anyone curious to see 1992 from a Black affluent teenager perspective.
CBR13 Square: Free!
I read way more books and could have done a blackout bingo if I hadn’t procrastinated. This is a great book to close my weekend review marathon.
Read more of my musings on my blog, Confessions of a Pop Culture Addict.