Book Review, Fiction, Racism, Review, Young Adult

Book Review: “I’m Not Dying With You Tonight”, by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal

5.00 avg. rating (99% score) - 2 votes

About the Authors:

Kimberly Jones

Kimberly Jones is a former bookseller, and now she Hosts the Atlanta Chapter of the popular Well Read Black Girl book club, as well as the infamous, viral sensation the YA Truth or Dare author panel at the Decatur Book Festival. She has worked in film and television with trailblazing figures such as Tyler Perry, Whitney Houston, and 8Ball & MJG. Currently, in addition to writing YA novels, she is a director of feature films and cutting-edge diverse web series. She also regularly lectures on working and succeeding in the Atlanta film market.

Kim’s book roots run deep. She served on the Selection Committee for Library of Congress’ 2016-2017 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, the 2015 Children’s Choice Illustrator Committee for The Children’s Book Council, and the advisory board that created the Creative and Innovative Education Master’s Degree program at Georgia State University. She has been featured in Redbook, Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, and was Book Brahmin in an issue of Shelf Awareness. James Patterson and the American Booksellers Association chose her out of over 3,000 booksellers to receive a bonus for her outstanding work as an indie bookseller.

She resides in Atlanta and is the proud mother of a gifted boy. She lives for synthetic wigs and nail art, as her style icons are Dolly Parton, Chaka Khan, and Diana Ross. Her forthcoming YA novel, I’M NOT DYING WITH YOU TONIGHT, co-authored with Gilly Segal, is due out from Sourcebooks Fire October, 1 2019

Gilly Segal

Gilly grew up in Florida, came of age in Israel, where she served in the IDF and graduated from Hebrew University, and finally decided to call Decatur, Georgia home. By day, she’s a lawyer for an advertising agency. By night, she is a caped crusader! No, just kidding (she wishes). Her real not-actually-secret identity is writer. She’s been writing in one form or another since she wrote her first young adult novel – a Sunfire YA romance fanfic – typed out on an electric typewriter. Although she will confess it was titled CLAUDIA, she will neither confirm nor deny that any copies still exist. Whatever you do, don’t ask her mom if it’s in those boxes still stored in the closet of her childhood room.

When Gilly’s not reading and writing, she can be found exploring Decatur with her three kids and searching bakeries the world over for the perfect French macaron. Her favorite so far is rose lychee.

Her debut young adult novel, I’m Not Dying With You Tonight, co-written with Kimberly Jones, will be published by Sourcebooks Fire, with an anticipated release date of October 1, 2019. She is represented by Tracey Adams of Adams Literary.

About the Book:

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.

Review of “I’m Not Dying With You Tonight”, Kimberly Jones, Gilly Segal

Let’s begin by talking about the role of fiction in eliminating all forms of prejudice, including racism.

When we choose to read books that are written only by a certain type of author, we choose to limit our world view. By type, I mean, of course, gender, race, country of birth, country of residence, age, educational level, etc. But when we choose to pick up books from authors who come from different backgrounds, a whole new world opens up to us. And when our sight is thus broadened, we can become more active protagonists in making the world a better place.

It’s therefore no surprise, then, that what I appreciated the most about “I’m Not Dying With You Tonight” are its two co-authors: Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal, an African-American woman and a white woman. For a book with a plot built around racism, it’s kind of brilliant. Why has this not been done before, and if it has, please drop book titles in the comments!

Coupled with the fact that this story spans only 24 hours and a pretty intense situation (to say the least), it allows for a lot to come out without much explanation. Regular readers of my blog will no doubt wonder why I would still love a book that does not offer much explanation. I do, after all, tend to like books that really dive into important topics. The thing is, “I’m Not Dying With You Tonight” offers the opportunity to understand a situation, rather than characters or even a concept. And by giving two different views of the same situation, then tying the two together and underlining how it is, in fact, the same situation seen through the lens of two different realities, it offers the questioning mind the opportunity to learn to do the same when watching the news, however biased on whatever side it may be.

And oh boy, what a better world we would be living in, if everyone already knew how to do that.

Not that this book is perfect; I didn’t feel like I got to know either main characters as well as I would have wanted to. This, though, is a testament, in my opinion, to the strength of the writing; that I would have wanted a lot more from both teenagers. I also feel that this should be a must-read for as long as we do not know how to talk, frankly and respectfully, about such sensitive issues.

Also, a personal request to publishers: I would love to see more books of the sort being co-authored about racism, sexism, and all forms of phobias. Keep them coming!

5.00 avg. rating (99% score) - 2 votes

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