Another Day, Another Amazing Read | Reviews: The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

7:30 AM

The Black Kids had me hooked immediately with its stunning cover and highly engaging synopsis. There was something about it that screamed 'READ ME' almost instantly and it's such a fantastic read. Trust me on this one, guys. The Black Kids is another must-read release of 2020.

The Black Kids
by Christina Hammonds Reed

This coming-of-age debut novel explores issues of race, class, and violence through the eyes of a wealthy black teenager whose family gets caught in the vortex of the 1992 Rodney King Riots. Ashley Bennett and her friends are living the charmed life. It’s the end of senior year. Everything changes one afternoon in April, when four LAPD officers are acquitted after beating a black man named Rodney King half to death. Suddenly, Ashley’s not just one of the girls. She’s one of the black kids.

As violent protests engulf LA and the city burns, Ashley tries to continue on as if life were normal. With her world splintering around her, Ashley, along with the rest of LA, is left to question who is the us? And who is the them?


The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed
Rating: ★★★

 As always, a copy of this book was provided by the author or publisher in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.

Admittedly, I judged this book on its beautiful cover design for a brief minute. It's so eye-catching. But, the real reason I was so drawn to The Black Kids was its setting and the promise its brief synopsis held. It sounded like exactly the book to follow up This Is My America and The Voting Booth with. And, frankly, given the state of our modern times... something about The Black Kids 1990s setting seemed to be the perfect parallel. 

Initially, I had the impression that this coming of age story would tackle certain topics in a different way. Yet, the way that Christina Hammonds Reed tells this story--and crafts this incredibly honest glimpse into the characters--blew all expectations out of the water. The Black Kids takes us through so much in a way that feels painfully real. It's such an important book to read and an even more important perspective. 

Christina Hammonds Reed's writing is one of the biggest stars of the program. The way she develops her prose is lyrical, haunting, blunt and openly vulnerable. You'll want to highlight a lot, so if you are an annotator, The Black Kids will require your full attention. There's nothing more breathtaking than her writing, except maybe the messages tucked into the subject matter of The Black Kids.

The characters, too, were great and complex in a way that makes them easy to read/connect with. Even if you believe that you have nothing in common with them. There's something about the way she writes these characters and this story that feels startling in its own vibrancy. Life is full of so much pain and complexities and hope, and the entirety of The Black Kids is spent devoted to those complexities. 

Further, and centering back on the setting and topics at hand, The Black Kids approaches many historical facts (side note: yikes, it still feels weird referring to the 1990s as historical)  in way that feels more real and honest than what we're taught in school. I

For some readers, this book will be everything: it's honest, but humorous, heartfelt but still flawed to a degree that only nods to our humanity. If you aren't big on young adult standalones, The Black Kids is the book that will capture your heart and soul in the ways that only great literature can.

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