**Disclaimer: I received an advance reader copy of I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones from SOURCEBOOKS Fire and NetGalley for review purposes. Thank you to them for this opportunity.
I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones is a hard hitting YA Contemporary novel that hits the shelves on August 6th, 2019. I gave it 4/5 stars on GoodReads, but my actual rating is probably a 4.5/5.
Here is the summary from NetGalley:
From #OwnVoices debut author duo Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones comes a page-turning and timely story about two teenage girls—one black, one white—who only have each other to get through the violent race riots enveloping their city over the course of one night.
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.
I’m Not Dying With You Tonight is one of those books that really makes you think. It doesn’t make you think because the writing is particularly complicated but because of the subject matter. What this book was actually about it so relevant in our present day society that I really feel like this is a book that everyone should read. I was really impressed with how the authors got their point across without making it feel like they were hammering a lesson into your brain.
One of the things I loved about this book was the pacing of it. The whole story takes place over the course of one afternoon and evening and I was worried it would drag and get boring. However, the authors are quick to introduce you to our protagonists Lena and Campbell, tell you about them, explain why they are where they are, throw them together and then get the story going. Once the action starts the novel is fast paced and hard to put down because you need to know that Lena and Campbell are going to be safe.
Another thing I really liked was the voices of the two characters. The novel is told in dual point of view, with Lena and Campbell having alternating chapters. Each girl has a very distinct voice which makes it easy to tell who is speaking on the off chance you forgot whose chapter you were reading. Each girl also read really realistically and I really felt like I was in the head of two unique teenage girls. They let out their worries and fears in their thoughts and you were really able to get to know them. Both girls were round and dynamic, with strengths and flaws that made them feel like people you might encounter in real life.
I also really appreciated the way the characters interacted. Lena and Campbell are not friends at the start of the story and they spend much of it clashing with one another. They argue over stupid things but later they get into deeper conflicts that deal with racism and prejudice and how to understand that bias. As the story progresses, the girls grow and learn from each other and come to a better understanding of the other and it ends in a way that gave me hope for the future.
The story dealt with some mature themes as I previously mentioned as it starts with a smallish conflict over a racist remark and then blows up into a massive conflict that spreads across the city. This story dealt with those mature themes in a way that is accessible and also well handled. I felt that they addressed the problems, and while obviously one novel can’t fix racism in the whole world, it seemed to me that they dealt with Campbell’s internalized racism in a way that taught the reader something.
I know this is somewhat vague, but I really think that this is a novel better enjoyed and read without it being spoiled because it’s a very good book. I highly recommend it, and if the summary and/or what I’ve mentioned interests you at all, I recommend checking out I’m Not Dying With You Tonight when it comes out in early August.
Thank you for reading and thanks again to NetGalley and the publishers for this opportunity!