The Sunday Review: I’m Not Dying With You Tonight

43352274Title: I’m Not Dying With You Tonight
Author: Kimberly Jones & Gilly Segal
Page Count: 249 pages
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

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SYNOPSIS – 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.

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REVIEW – Campbell moves to a new town for her senior year and is recruited to work the refreshment stand at the Friday night football game when no one else in the class volunteers. She doesn’t really have friends yet and she really doesn’t have help in the stand. She’s the outcast, the quiet one. Meanwhile, Lena is at the game to watch her friend dance in the halftime show and to show off her own hot new outfit and designer bag. Her boyfriend, Black, is older and in the studio laying down new tracks. On the outside, Lena has it all–friends, boyfriend, clothes, bags, even a plan for the future.

But when halftime hits, chaos breaks out. It starts as team rivalry. A fight. Next it erupts into chaos. More and more people get involved. And then there are gunshots. Honestly, from the beginning of the book, I didn’t stop reading. I could clearly picture my own high school games and then the rowdiness of them and even picture the violence and chaos. I could really picture Lena and Campbell on a journey through the rough neighborhoods of a rough city in the dark of night. I know those streets my own parents have told me to never even drive down, let alone walk down, and then Lena and Campbell are faced with that walk in the middle of a protest. No. Way. I’m Not Dying With You Tonight had my blood pressure up and my imagination working.

But that’s also a down side to this book. It was hard, at times, to imagine the night lasting as long as it did, and at a couple points, I did want it to just be over for these poor girls. Just hunker down and hide until morning. The book left much to the imagination regarding exactly why there was so much violence and terror in the city that night. A protest was mentioned but that’s all we get? And at the football game it was all team rivalry? I guess one takeaway is that we really do live in an age of high levels of panic where it is so easy to become a victim and it can be so difficult to escape the crossfire. Campbell and Lena learned that I think that, and that is exactly what this book did a great job of showing in several other ways as well. Thank you to Edelweiss and the publishers for letting me read this shocking and heart-wrenching book. It was quite an eye-opener, and so many people would do well to read it with an open mind.

Soundtrack: Where is the Love? by The Black Eyed Peas

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