Ashley Bennett has lived a luxurious life in an upper class Los Angeles neighborhood. However, as the school year winds down and a local man, Rodney King is murdered, Ashley is forced to reevaluate how she views herself and her peers. At first, Ashley the Rodney King murder is barely a blip on Ashley's radar, although after the verdict is delivered and the protests and riots begin, Ashley begins to see a difference in the way she and her family are treated. She is not just any girl at her high school, she is one of the black kids.
The Black Kids is so on point and perfectly written that I want everyone to read this book immediately. Honest, poignant, and driven, the writing had me hooked from the beginning; it was eerie how the events of the very first chapter seemed to perfectly echo the current events of the USA. I liked that Ashley's character was not the typical 'black kid' of the time and had to experience the consequences of the Rodney King murder to realize the truth of how her race effects her daily life. Through Ashley's eyes I experienced the blatant racism and sexism that was as rampant in 1992 as it is now. The prose also perfectly captured the wonders of being a teen along with the nostalgia of the early 1990's. Ashley's journey had great revelations about racism and the weight of representing her race in a white world, as well as understanding of poverty, friendship and growing up. The consequences of the Rodney King verdict and the subsequent riots were a turning point in Ashley's view of herself and her life, opening up her eyes and my own to see just how long people of color have been vigilantly fighting against systemic racism in the USA and highlighting the cycle of racism, unjust killing, protest and unrest until we put a bandage on the current issue until we forget about what caused the previous issue. The Black Kids is a must-read for everyone who wants to better understand the world we live in.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.