03 December, 2019

[Review] I'm Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal

Cover image from the goodreads website.

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Release Date: 6 August, 2019
Publisher: Recorded Books/Sourcebooks Fire
Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Friendship/Racism
Edition: Audiobook (also available in Kindle and Hardback)
Rating: ★★★
Review Written: 18 November, 2019
Warnings: Racism, Violence, Rioting
Lena and Campbell aren't friends. 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.

See more by Kimberly Jones at her Website. See more by Gilly Segal at her website.
I read this book as part of the Big Library Read (active on Overdrive until today).

I'm Not Dying With You Tonight centers around the stories of Lena and Campbell who are both struggling in their own way. Campbell struggles with being the "new girl" for her senior year of high school, having been forced to move in with her dad in Atlanta from her home in Pennsylvania. Lena is struggling for people to take her relationship with Black seriously, especially since he's a "bad" boy and soon to be rapper.

Both girls are in attendance at a High School Football game with the school's biggest rivals. When fighting breaks out in front of the concession stands, the two are forced to rely on each other to survive the night and figure out a way to get home. Lena, having busted into the concession stand, attempts to get several friends to come pick her up before her phone dies. Upon this, Campbell offers her own phone before remembering that it's in a portable classroom on the other side of campus. The girls first obstacle of the night is to reach the portable, avoiding the fight that includes gunfire.

Throughout the novel, you get the distinct feel for both girls lives through the narrative. With each author representing one of the girls, this intricate look at race and inner city life is a timely novel in racism. While the girls ultimately survive the night, it's a very long and terrifying night. This includes getting caught in a second riot (where they were trying to meet up with Black to get a ride home), and realizing that Black's friends had broken into Campbell's Dad's store in the chaos.

This tale of friendship is sure to delight even reluctant readers while providing a stark look at life from either perspective. I recommend this novel for anyone looking for a good novel about friendship or social justice.

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