Title: I’m Not Dying With You Tonight

Author: Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones

Pages: 272 Pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks

The Blurb

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.

The Review

I read an awful lot of books and it is always nice to be able to read a book that surprises me. With the amount that I read you would think that there would be few topics that I haven’t read a book about. However, I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones did just that.

The story follows two teenage girls – Lena and Campbell – as they traverse a night fraught with racial panic and riots. The two girls – who have very little in common – have to band together to make it through. As we watch their story unfold we see them both develop a respect if not a friendship towards each other.

Segal and Jones have used I’m Not Dying With You Tonight to highlight the very potent nature of race relations and how people of an ethnic minority are still persecuted on a daily basis. They haven’t tried to glorify or indeed downplay racism. We see it through the eyes of people who observe it. It is voices like Segal and Jones that make YA fiction so relevant and more importantly, necessary.

I’m Not Dying With You Tonight by Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones is available now.

For more information regarding Gilly Segal (@really_gilly) please visit www.gillysegal.com.

For more information regarding Kimberly Jones (@kimlatricejones) please visit www.kimjoneswrites.com.

For more information regarding Sourcebooks (@Sourcebooks) please visit www.sourcebooks.com.

Love, Hate and Other FiltersTitle: Love, Hate & Other Filters

Author: Samira Ahmed

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Hot Key Books

The Blurb

A romantic and relevant debut about Islamophobia and how it affects the normal life of a teenage girl. 

Maya Aziz dreams of being a film maker in New York. Her family have other ideas. They want her to be a dutiful daughter who wears gold jewellery and high heels and trains to be a doctor. But jewellery and heels are so uncomfortable . . .

She’s also caught between the guy she SHOULD like and the guy she DOES like. But she doesn’t want to let Kareem down and things with Phil would never work out anyway. Would they?

Then a suicide bomber who shares her last name strikes in a city hundreds of miles away and everything changes . . .

Perfect for fans of Annabel Pitcher, WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI and THE HATE U GIVE.

The Review

Being a teenager is hard. I’m 34 and work in a school and I do not envy my students youth one bit. If they are going through even half of what the protagonist of Love Hate & Other Filters is going through then they have things pretty tough; you wouldn’t get me going back to that age for a big clock!

Maya is a young, talented, pretty girl. She is ambitious. She wants to study film in New York and she wants to kiss a boy. Ok that last one doesn’t seem like the biggest ambition but to Maya who has lived a cosseted life due to her strict Indian upbringing it is something that she would like to try.

Alas, Maya seems to be struggling against most things such as liking a boy, snarky people in her school and general teenage life worries. Throw in the added extra of seriously overprotective and intrusive parents and – as you can imagine – Maya’s life is just that extra bit difficult. Many of the readers of Love, Hate & Other Filters will be able to relate.

I really enjoyed this young adult fiction novel and the reason I liked it is because I wasn’t reading in a passive manner. There were times when I was reading Love, Hate and Other Filters that I felt the same feeling of claustrophobia that Maya felt. Ahmed has so accurately and positively described that feeling that I found myself getting frustrated at her parents as if they were mine.

Besides normal teen angst, Love, Hate & Other Filters deals with hate crime and racism in a powerful way. It leaves a lasting impression on the reader.

Love, Hate & Other Filters is one of the best books that I have read in the Young Adult genre.

Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed is available now.

For more information regarding Samira Ahmed (@sam_aye_ahm) please visit www.samiraahmed.com.

For more information regarding Hot Key Books (@HotKeyBooks) please visit www.hotkeybooks.com.

5 Stars

The Hate You GiveTitle: The Hate U Give

Author: Angie Thomas

Pages: 444 Pages

Publisher: Walker Books

The Blurb

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star.

 

The Review

Holy Cow!

I love it when a book lives up to its hype and The Hate U Give certainly does.

Angie Thomas has tackled a contentious issue (racism and the Black Lives Matter campaign) and packaged it for teenagers. I feel that this was a really ambitious topic to tackle for many reasons but the main one being how do you explain to young adults such a brutal and horrific subject knowing that these things happen in real life. Books are escapism but you have to be real otherwise people won’t want to read on. Thomas does this beautifully.

The story of Starr and her experience of watching a friend be gunned down by a policeman – the people who are supposed to protect you – is beyond comprehension. The Hate U Give deals with the aftermath, how rival gangs influence certain cities, the feeling of helplessness and above all the growing feeling that police in America are being given a free pass to kill people as long as they say they were doing it in self defence.

The Hate U Give packed a massive emotional punch and for a debut novel was ridiculously good. If this is Angie Thomas’s first offering then I can’t wait to see what she will do next.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is available now.

For more information regarding Angie Thomas (@acthomasbooks) please visit www.angiethomas.com.

For more information regarding Walker Books (@WalkerBooksYA) please visit www.walker.co.uk.

5 Stars

they-cany-kill-us-allTitle: They Can’t Kill Us All – The Story of Black Lives Matter

Author: Wesley Lowery

Pages: 256 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

A deeply reported book on the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement, offering unparalleled insight into the reality of police violence in America, and an intimate, moving portrait of those working to end it.

In over a year of on-the-ground reportage, Washington Post writer Wesley Lowery travelled across the US to uncover life inside the most heavily policed, if otherwise neglected, corners of America today. In an effort to grasp the scale of the response to Michael Brown’s death and understand the magnitude of the problem police violence represents, Lowery conducted hundreds of interviews with the families of victims of police brutality, as well as with local activists working to stop it.

Lowery investigates the cumulative effect of decades of racially biased policing in segregated neighbourhoods with constant discrimination, failing schools, crumbling infrastructure and too few jobs. Offering a historically informed look at the standoff between the police and those they are sworn to protect, They Can’t Kill Us All demonstrates that civil unrest is just one tool of resistance in the broader struggle for justice. And at the end of President Obama’s tenure, it grapples with a worrying and largely unexamined aspect of his legacy: the failure to deliver tangible security and opportunity to the marginalised Americans most in need of it.

The Review

Black Lives Matter is an organisation that has been born out of the heinous – and quite frankly avoidable – prejudice that has happened towards people of colour in America. As a white person I know how lucky I am to not have to worry about my skin colour affecting the way that I am generally perceived by society. I don’t say that with necessary pride but with the privilege that a shockingly unjust history has provided society.

It is difficult due to my colour to ever really empathise with those who are affected on a day to day basis due to the corrupt and unfair policing system but I wanted to read this book because I support any cause that aims to eradicate racial profiling, racism or prejudice of any kind.

Wesley Lowery, an American journalist has documented the killings at the hands of the police in his non-fiction release They Can’t Kill Us All – The Story of Black Lives Matter. He does so with a sharp eye for detail, unwavering honesty and heartbreaking emotion. With his inside knowledge of activist groups and relationships with the family members of victims you get a rounded knowledge of what it feels like to be black in America.

At a time when politics seems at an all time low and when corruption seems at an all time high this book – They Can’t Kill Us All – The Story of Black Lives Matter – is all the more important.

They Can’t Kill Us All – The Story of Black Lives Matter by Wesley Lowery is available from 26th January 2017.

For more information regarding Wesley Lowery please visit his Twitter page (@WesleyLowery).

For more information regarding Penguin Books (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

4-stars

small-great-thingsTitle: Small Great Things

Author: Jodi Picoult

Pages: 470 Pages

Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton

The Blurb

When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father.

What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not.

Small Great Things is about prejudice and power; it is about that which divides and unites us.

It is about opening your eyes.

The Review

I love books by Jodi Picoult. I have never read a book by her that I haven’t raved about. What I like most is that you will start reading the book with a clear cut, tunnel vision view about what is right and what is wrong and then half way through you have the rug pulled from under your feet.

Small Great Things is no different. The story focuses on race relations in America and whilst reading this book I couldn’t get over just how relevant it was especially in these troubled political times.

The novel focuses on Ruth Jefferson, a seasoned neo-natal nurse who is taken off a case because she is black and the parents of the baby are white supremacists. Straight away you are sucked into a world of racial tension, white privilege and the unfairness of prejudice.

I can honestly say that I was scared to review a Jodi Picoult book because I know that I cannot verbalise my love for her writing in an adequate way. No words I have will do her work justice. In this assumption I was right. Quite simply, Small Great Things blew me away. It is Picoult at her finest and her most contentious.

If you only read one book this year make it Small Great Things.

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult is available from 22nd November 2016.

For more information regarding Jodi Picoult (@jodipicoult) please visit www.jodipicoult.com.

For more information regarding Hodder and Stoughton (HodderBooks) please visit www.hodder.co.uk.

5-stars