Hammonds Reed, Christina. The Black Kids. Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2020. 368p. ISBN: 9781534462724. $18.99. HS, OT ***
This book is a terrific coming of age, young adult novel. It joins the number of current young adult novels set in the 1990s. In this case, it is 1992 Los Angeles amidst the Rodney King riots. Hammonds Lee deftly explores the myriad of ways micro- and not-so-micro-racial aggressions play out in the life of a black teen. Fans of The Hate You Give will see a lot of parallels, though this book goes more in-depth to the interior world of the protagonist. I wish there had been further character and plot development, but found the book compelling throughout.
I found The Black Kids to be extremely timely given the current racial unrest, and a searing critique of how we’ve evolved (or in many ways, not changed at all) as far as race in American society. The cover also is gorgeous. It is definitely a title to add to your library collection, hand to your older teens, and would make for a thoughtful book club pick.
-Megan Keane, San Mateo County Libraries