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YA Review: I'm Not Dying with You Tonight by Jones and Segal

Title: I'm Not Dying with You Tonight
AuthorKimberly Jones and Gilly Segal
Year Published: 2019

Genre: YA fiction
Pages: 242
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2020 Google Reading map): USA (MD)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): 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: This book was one of the finalists for the 2019 CYBIL Awards, of which I was a judge. I actually read the book back in early January, but couldn't post the review until the winner was announced.

The 2015 riots in Baltimore were the impetus for this book and I can see that the authors did their homework as the scenes feel very real. I was tense as I was reading from the early pages when the fights break out at the school until the very last page, hoping that the girls would be ok, that they they would stick by one another, and that no one else would get hurt.

The issue of race is pervasive in this book, but in an interview with the authors, they said that more than race, they feel the book is about perspective and that is definitely true. How do Lena and Campbell view one another, the events of the evening, the rioters, and Lena's family and boyfriend's friends. There is so much to unpack in this novel and I think it's all handled really well.

Challenges for which this counts: 
For the Pop Sugar challenge this book has an upside down image on its cover.

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