Cover Image: I'm Not Dying with You Tonight

I'm Not Dying with You Tonight

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Member Reviews

I’m Not Dying with You Tonight by Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones is a fast-paced story involving very different individuals and how their lives intersect and come to see each other during their harrowing journey.

Legal and Jones deliver on real characters and not cardboard cutouts that often plague writing.

The story is told in alternating, first-person narrative from the characters of Lena and Campbell. The storyline moves along at a rapid clip that completely pulls the reader into the worlds of these characters and the unfolding events of a single night.

I received an advance copy from NetGalley. My review is voluntary.

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I went into this blind but the blurb from NetGalley was interesting so I downloaded it. At first I thought Campbell was a male, so I was pretty confused. And the slang coming from Lena and her friend LaShaunda was a little hard to read. I kept on because I got where it was coming from and was just captivated and read straight through. This had me on the edge of my seat. I was completely affected by this as it was a story about race, friendship, and more but told with such an authentic voice that put you in the middle of the action whether you wanted to be or not. I'm so glad I got a chance to read this book. Lena and Campbell were quite a pair and it gave me a lot to think about. Highly recommend.

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This book had me in suspense the entire ride. I found myself holding my breath at times. It’s a quick read, read in one sitting. I absolutely think everyone should read not just YA fans.
Lena and Campbell are not friends, but the events of one evening put these two in a position to change their lives forever.
My fave quote from this book “when you push people to their breaking point, and they ain’t got no power, they’ll find a way to take it. “
I can’t wait to read more by said author-

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I absolutely loved this book and read it in one sitting. Each girl’s voice is distinctive, her perspective believable, and her personality her own. Lena’s sassy sense of humor kept me engaged, as did the action, which started early and did not stop right up through the end. Campbell’s messed up home life and estrangement from the kids in her new school made her a sympathetic individual who was easy to care about. I was never sure where the story was going, and I was pleased to see a lack of cliched characters. Lena and Campbell felt real, their situation truly frightening, and its resolution satisfying. Very well done.

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***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of I’M NOT DYING WITH YOU TONIGHT by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal in exchange for my honest review.***

Two classmates, one black, the other white are caught up in a football game fight that turns into a riot.

I’m a middle aged Caucasian woman and while not the target audience for I’M NOT DYING WITH YOU TONIGHT, I enjoyed this profound story. Initially, Lena’s raw, authentic voice was difficult for me to understand but after a few chapters, the rhythm flowed more smoothly.

Lena was the more layered, multifaceted character, but I identified with Campbell, who was completely out of her element more. Jones and Segal brilliantly showed the differences in points of view between the girls, assumptions they made about each other based on race and how each grew as they fought together to stay safe.

Before Trayvon Martin was murdered, I, like Campbell, never understood my white privilege. I made assumptions from my own experiences rather than empathizing with those who had other frames of reference. The #BlackLivesMatter movement taught me much of what Campbell learned from Lena. Lena also learned from her white counterparts, though her learning curve was much less steep.

The end left me wanting more. What would happen Monday at school? Would they become friends after gaining the respect of each other? How would the community be changed. I would LOVE a sequel, but I think the writers wanted to leave us wondering.

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I'm Not Dying with You Tonight is a young adult book, jointly written by debut authors Gilly Segal and Kimberly Jones. Their novel is centered around two girls, Lena and Campbell, classmates of different races who end up stuck together when a riot breaks out in their neighborhood.

As I began to read, I was really reminded of Sharon Draper's Romiette and Julio. Part of that is because it's based in a major city, where the majority of residents are black. But I also felt the overall tone, where teens quickly end up in situations over their heads, was the same. Considering I read Draper's book multiple times as a teen, it's a good thing.

There were moments where I thought that Campbell, the white girl, was being made into a generic meek white girl character or when I thought Lena was too hard on her. "Can't she see she's got problems too?"

After remembering that no, Lena can't see into Campbell's head like I can, I took a step back and thought, How much of my defensiveness of Campbell is more defensive of what I see of myself in her? And how much of what I'm defending is worth defending?

Books like this that examine the same racially-charged event through different races' eyes are important; when they're engaging like this one, they're almost imperative for any teacher or school library interested in perspective to have on their shelves.

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