Lena is sassy and fashionable, and she dreams of fame. Campbell is quiet and reserved, and she just wants to survive the year at her new school. These two high-school girls—one black and one white—find themselves caught in the middle of chaos at a Friday night football game. Despite being strangers, they must rely on each other in order to escape the frightful scene. On their journey towards safety, they encounter several dangerous situations, such as riots, fights, and looting, which force them to learn about and appreciate each other. In their first collaboration, authors Segal and Jones have produced a novel that addresses the racial tension in our nation, including current issues such as police brutality. This is a book that is sure to make young readers think, highlighting the importance of understanding different perspectives as its chapters alternate between Lena's and Campbell's points of view. An eye-opening read that will be useful for starting conversations in group settings. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.
PW Annex Reviews
Debut authors Segal and Jones deliver split points of view in this drama that follows two teens: Lena, who is black, and Campbell, who is white and new to Lena's school. After a racially charged fight breaks out during a football game, school resource officers become involved, gunshots crack the tentative hold preventing an all-out riot, and the night erupts. Lena, unable to get a ride away from the madness, teams up with Campbell to make their way home, where Lena's boyfriend is working on his album. Along the way, protests draw white supremacists, who run over a black woman, setting off more violence. Though Lena and Campbell's stories seek to tell the gripping perspectives of two girls from different backgrounds, the characters lack dimension. Unfortunately, the novel stops just short of wrapping up Lena's story, leaving Campbell with a more full character arc, while Lena, problematically, feels more like a mouthpiece for a stereotypical black experience. Nonetheless, the novel's timely, accessible look at urgent issues of racial justice will likely draw interest. Ages 14–17. Agent: Tracey Adams, Adams Literary. (Aug.)
Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly Annex.
School Library Journal Reviews
Gr 9 Up—High schoolers Lena James and Campbell Carlson are not what most people would consider best friends. Lena is African American and a bit rough around the edges. Campbell is white and finding her place at a new school. They unexpectedly befriend each other when a racist incident occurs at their high school football game and results in a riot in the commercial district of town. Lena is pining to reach her unreliable boyfriend, aspiring rapper Black, who is just not that reciprocal about their relationship. Campbell simply wants to go home after working the concession stand on the orders of her dad, who owns the hardware store in town. Their newfound friendship is tested by the riot's effect on the store and the connection Black's friends have with it. Segal and Jones have proven themselves a dynamic duo in crafting this fast-paced, honest, and page-turning YA novel. Lena and Campbell navigate through the tough issues of race, class, and community relations in their own different yet similar voices and perspectives. Readers will be relieved that the novel avoids the "white savior" narrative. Some readers may get annoyed with Lena's obliviousness to Black's treatment of her, despite concerns from family and friends. Fans of the classic sitcom A Different World will immediately recognize the nod to Lena James, the Hillman student played by Jada Pinkett Smith. VERDICT Librarians will want to purchase this relevant and discussion-worthy YA novel.—Donald Peebles, Brooklyn Public Library
Copyright 2019 School Library Journal.
Told from two viewpoints, Atlanta high school seniors Lena and Campbell, one black, one white, must rely on each other to survive after a football rivalry escalates into a riot. - (Baker & Taylor)
"An absolute page turner, I'm Not Dying with You Tonight is a compelling and powerful novel that is sure to make an impact. " —Angie Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of The Hate U Give
An NAACP Image Award Nominee, I'm Not Dying with You Tonight follows two teen girls—one black, one white—who have to confront their own assumptions about racial inequality as they rely on each other to get through the violent race riot that has set their city on fire with civil unrest.
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.
This book is perfect for:
- Sparking conversations about prejudice and the racial tension that exists in America
- Parents and educators looking for multicultural and African American books for teens
- Fans of Nic Stone, Angie Thomas, and Jason Reynolds
Additional Praise for I'm Not Dying with You Tonight:
"A vital addition to the YA race relations canon." —Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin
"An astounding achievement. This novel is an incendiary experience, one that does not shy away from difficult questions about privilege and violence. But Jones and Segal don't hold our hands to provide us easy answers; this is a book meant to be devoured in a single sitting and discussed for years to come." —Mark Oshiro, author of Anger is a Gift
"I'm Not Dying With You Tonight is a powerful examination of privilege, and how friends are often found in surprising places. Jones and Segal have penned a page-turning debut, as timely as it is addictive." —David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of Mosquitoland and Kids of Appetite
- (Sourcebooks Inc.