Cover Image: Come Home Safe

Come Home Safe

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Member Reviews

The background to this book is fascinating, and it’s both informative and engaging. I’m grateful to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this, but deeply frustrated that it still seems so necessary.
No matter what happens, as a parent you want your child to come home safe. This is even more important (it seems) for parents of children of colour in the US who may be victims of profiling, or who may be subjected to unnecessary force simply because of someone else’s prejudices.
The story focuses on siblings Reed and Olivia. Their father is a lawyer who has had numerous conversations with them about how to interact with officers of the law in order to ensure they are treated appropriately. These kids know their rights and are well-versed in how to manage themselves. But when they are dealing with this in reality - when they are stopped on a subway because Reed fits the profile of some kids the police were looking for - fear takes over and they don’t remember every lesson. 
From the moment they are stopped my heart sank. At fourteen and twelve they should not have to be remembering not to resist when the police are forcing them to the ground before handcuffing them. They should not have to be recording every moment of the interaction so that if they need the evidence later it is indisputable. They should not have to be victims of assault simply because someone assumes something because of their skin colour. 
Sadly, this remains relevant. It is written in a way that has emotional impact while also educating readers. A book that really should be read.
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CW: Racism, Police Brutality, False Accusations

Reed and Olive, two siblings that face racial encounters with the police and society when they least expect it. Reed is a freshman who loves soccer and cannot wait to get home and have his parents sign the permission slip for him to try out for the varsity team. Olive, Reed's younger sister attends a different school than him, but their parents tell them that all they want is for them to come home safe! On the way home, Reed is approached by a police officer and questioned because he "looks like" the suspect that the cops are looking for. As things escalate, Olive begins to film the encounter, to ensure that they have proof of what happened. Tension rises and the reader is taken through the events that unfold. The second part of the book follows Olive as she is falsely accused of stealing a white woman's phone. 

Personal Opinion: 
I found this book to be really powerful. While it did seem somewhat choppy shifting from part one to part two, I found the stories and scenarios to be really powerful. As a white woman, I HATE that these are things that Black Americans have to teach their children. I hate that they have to teach their children to keep their wallet in their front left pocket and to keep a bright colored wallet so that it is not mistaken for a weapon. This book hurt my heart to read because as far as I feel we have come as a country we still have so much, so much work to do.  However, this book is definitely one that I would add to my middle school library as well as one that fans of books like The Hate U Give, This is My America, and Dear Martin would enjoy.
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Perfect for the sociopolitical climate we’re in. A must read. Explains the struggle of being black in America when that’s the most dangerous thing to be.
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Thank you @netgalley for this E-ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book was so good. If you loved “The hate you give” you will love this book! This book made me so mad while reading because the way black people are treated in this world isnt fair. Just because you have a different skin color than another person, it makes you the bad guy. I loved that Olive and Reeds dad told them what to do when approached by a police officer so they would be ready in any situation. Olive’s personality reminded me so much of me in this book. She understood how her dad wanted her to talk to police but also knew what was wrong and what wasnt and she always stood up for herself! That lady that accused her of stealing her phone; i wouldve did exactly what Olive did in that situation. 

This book would be great for young adults. Having them read this book would introduce them to how black people are treated based off of the color of their skin. The author breaks it down and also said some laws in the book that I never even knew existed in some places! One part in the book that made me sad was when Reed told his dad that he just wanted to know how not to become a hashtag 🥺 That really hit me hard because the kids in this story and all other kids in the world have to worry about things like this instead of just being a kid! I hope one day all this color of skin nonsense wont matter anymore!
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Special thanks to the author, publisher, & netgalley for my advanced readers copy!!!

This book was so compelling and thought-provoking it literally had me on EDGE with emotions. Not gone lie it had me a little angry and my heart racing for a minute. But I loved how the author tried delivering his message and let it be known he doesn’t have the right answers but can give us the knowledge he’s learned. Kudos to Brian for this.

The book follows two siblings 12 year old Olive and her 14 year old brother Reed and their encounters with police, false accusations, unlawful interrogations, and discrimination. We’re taught that the police are here to protect and serve yet not much protecting was done in either situation.

The book is broken down into two parts. We see firsthand what Reed experienced when dealing with the police and the whole ordeal left him traumatized. Imagine being on the way home from school with your younger sibling only to be stopped by police then accused of something you didn’t do. I felt so bad for Reed because not only was he afraid but he was a child and they treated him as if they were dealing with an adult. 

The 2nd part shows Olive in a similar situation yet she is falsely accused by a frantic woman. Rather than the police hearing both sides they took what the woman said and ran with it. In this particular instance they only saw color. Once it was revealed the woman was wrong the police chalked it up to being a misunderstanding. Little did they know Olive and Reed’s mother was present. They were biracial and there mother just so happened to be a white woman. Once she was present that changed the trajectory of the entire situation. Crazy right? Not really.

I can’t say a lot without basically giving the whole book away. But you guys it’s a MUST-READ if not for you definitely for your children or teens. The author did an amazing job with giving us two different scenarios involving the law and what could be done in either situation.  His law expertise was immaculate and I think something we should take into account when dealing with police.

Once I finished the book I understood the reasoning behind the title “Come Home Safe”. Nobody should have to say those words to their children everyday. But when we live in a world that has grown even more dangerous by the day it’s necessary.

There was something Olive mentioned in the story that really stuck with me. “I walk differently to be safe, I dress differently to be safe. How much of myself do I have to give up to be safe?” I felt that on so many levels. How much do we have to give before we can feel safe in this world. What more can we do not to be deemed as a threat that results in police brutality?

I loved how each chapter’s header was a famous quote. I loved both of the MC’s especially Olive she was very smart and wise for her age. Overall this was a quick and easy read that definitely packed a powerful punch. I recommend this book 100%!!!!!
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Olive and Reed have been prepped by their dad on what they should do if they're stopped by a cop. however, they never thought the day would come. This novel explores two separate incidents (one for each sibling) where they are accused of crimes they didn't commit by the police. 

I wish this book had been a more cohesive story. The two siblings stories felt separate instead of one joint narrative. I also think the epilogue felt a bit rushed. I wish it had been more of a chapter rather than just an epilogue to see how they were trying to push past this trauma.

I received my copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a very important book, about two young Black children encountering racist police officers. Written by an author with a thorough grounding in the law, this is a textbook (no pun intended) example of what to do when faced with this extremely dangerous threat. As difficult as this was to read, it must have been even harder to write. 

My only grouse is that the narrative style and voice didn’t feel authentic as a middle-grade novel. 

(Review copy from NetGalley)
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Thank you to Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

While I can appreciate this book, I don't think it hits home with me as a target reader as I was searching for a more of a story than I was a history/civil rights lesson. I appreciate this book for all this it teaches its readers but as a narrative it can at times fall a bit flat. It definitely teaches you lifelong lessons and makes you look at. law enforcement in a different light. I think this book is an incredible tool for its intended target reader but for those who are outside of that range it can sometimes be read as long (due to the length of certain scenes). The characters themselves don't feel explored either, but I understand that it may not have been the intended desire with this book.

For any young teenagers, who are situated in USA and identify as black, I believe this to be a valuable tool and is a reminder how systemic racism is and always have been an issue which needs addressing.
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I wanted to love this story. The premise is one that always needs to be told. But the writing didn’t feel genuine. As someone who grew up in New York, the dialogue felt very forced.
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I often read books I think my students would enjoy. Rarely do I read books I think would be great to study with them. Despite the situation in America being different than in the UK I still think this would be an excellent starting point for a range of discussions. A clear and simple read but underlying all of that are a range of really complex issues to explore. I found the title powerful and moving and the author’s note helpful.
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Come Home Safe tells a story all too familiar to many kids and adults across America. Oliva and her older brother Reed have always been taught the rules of how to interact with police should the occasion ever arise. Their parents' main goal has always been to know your rights and simply come home safe. Their knowledge is put to the test in Brian Buckmire's in-your-face real life drama when they are approached on the subway and questioned for a crime they did not commit. What happens during this interaction will forever change their lives.

This book is powerful in all the right ways. It points out important perspectives and also points out some hard truths. I think some very important conversations can be had across all color lines and ages if a lot of people read this book. I think a lot of eyes will be opened if this book if widely read and spoken about!
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Thank you NetGalley and Blink for providing me a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review. All the view is and opinions expressed in this review are purely my own and not affiliated with any brand. 

This is a great book for any person of color who might have an encounter with law enforcement. It is full of legal advice that I wish more people knew and would take. It did read a little more like a middle grade novel than a YA but that’s not necessarily a negative.
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If you liked The Hate U Give, this book is 100% for you! The book follows two young black teenagers who face the police in two separate stand offs where police brutality is at the full force. Racism, police politics and discrimination are the biggest themes throughout. In parts it was incredibly difficult to read but it is extremely important for everyone to read. It is a really quick read, with a YA writing style so it's easy and fast paced just with difficult topics. I would happily pick up more from this author in the future!
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Come Home Safe is an important read. One that I feel sits among other greats of this genre such as "The Hate You Give", 'The Black Kids' and 'Clap When You Land'.

Written authentically and with a writing style that makes it easy to turn pages.
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DNF at 43%
It pains me so much to DNF such a promising book, but I'm not in the correct headspace for it at the moment. I liked what I've read so far even though the writing is sometimes disjointed and choppy. 
Might continue it later.
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If you liked The Hate U Give, then read this!

Come Home Safe was a book that reminds us that as Black people our skin is a threat that we can never take off. Now you can either let that knowledge drown you in sorrow, or accept it and fight against it to the end.

The book is in two parts, each part focuses on one of the siblings, Reed and then Olive. Each sibling has racist interactions with two types of people that are known to hold institutional power over us. The Police and white women.

With these two stories, you're forced to face the harsh realities of being Black, and learn that it doesn't matter how you dress or act, or even how young you are; racism just doesn't care who you are.

Reading this was heart-wrenching, the trauma that these kids face is heart-wrenching, and it's an experience they have to carry for life.

This story was well written and a quick read. There was some repetition in the speech of the characters that I thought was odd at first. But I think after an event like that, the repetition was done purposefully to create a realistic reaction and emphasise the helplessness and confusion of the kids.

This book is also age-appropriate, something to share with young Black teenagers if you want to teach them about their rights in the US and the importance of aiming to Come Home Safe.

Buckmire did a good job with his research. In the Author's Note, he details how he works in the criminal justice system, and talked to parents of different races about how they teach their kids (and how they were taught) to be safe with police. A lot of this was inserted into the book, but the overall message that each parent gave was to come home safe, their kids MUST come home safe. Now you see where the book title comes from.

If this reality cuts too deep for you as a Black, or even Brown, person, I wouldn't suggest reading it. But for others, read and learn. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
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