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The Black Kids

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  5,677 ratings  ·  1,404 reviews

Perfect for fans of The Hate U Give, this unforgettable coming-of-age debut novel explores issues of race, class, and violence through the eyes of a wealthy black teenager whose family gets caught in the vortex of the 1992 Rodney King Riots.

Los Angeles, 1992

Ashley Bennett and her friends are living the charmed life. It’s the end of senior year and they’re spending more t
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published August 4th 2020 by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
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Debbie There was nothing explicit. Violence was mentioned, sex was mentioned. There was recreational drug use and alcohol. The characters are in high school,…moreThere was nothing explicit. Violence was mentioned, sex was mentioned. There was recreational drug use and alcohol. The characters are in high school, living in 1992 LA during the riots. The story is done respectfully and without unnecessary violence and sex. I just finished reading this book. (less)
E Lewis
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Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,677 ratings  ·  1,404 reviews

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Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
This was different than I expected it to be, but not in a bad way at all. The writing style was quite unique and I thought it suited the storyline perfectly. This was definitely difficult to read at times but I felt like I learned a lot and gained a lot while reading it. This deals with a number of issues like racism, police brutality, and it did so in an unflinchingly honest way, which is what made it such a difficult read. It will definitely infuriate you. While I didn't love the main characte ...more
myo (myonna reads)
“sometimes people, they see your skin, and all they know of you is war”

i try not to read books anyone with books with police brutality because i’d like to see more black joy in books and i think that black people have seen enough trauma but i decided to pick up this book because i heard it had a different perspective than most. from the moment i started this book i knew i’d love. it made me so frustrated and angry, it invoked so many emotions from the first chapter and that’s exactly what i look
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs-read
In 1992, Ashley Bennett is a Senior at a private high school, living in a posh L.A. neighborhood with her parents.

You could say Ashley has been afforded a somewhat sheltered existence.

Her parents did everything they could to provide Ashley, and her older sister, with a less stressful childhood than they had, which I think is something a lot of parents do.

But even her parents admit, for reasons you learn as the novel progresses, they may have sheltered their girls a little too much.

At her school
Irena BookDustMagic
Let me start this review with a say that I don't feel capable to give The Black Kids proper, critical review as I am a white girl living in a country with mostly white people, and the only Black man I ever knew was my pediatric.
So this review is 100% subjective, and every feedback, criticism or say is very welcomed.

I wish the circumstances were different and that things that happened in the book weren't so similar to what is happening in the America, and the world, right now.

The Black Kids is co
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
"We have to walk around being perfect all the time just to be seen as human. Don’t you ever get tired of being a symbol? Don't you ever just want to be human"

The Black Kids is a coming of age story about a young black teen navigating the end of high school in the midst of 1992 riots in LA. We follow our main character Ashley deal with college applications, friendship drama, familial tension and finding her own place in the world. The relationships are messy, but incredibly authentic. The charact
Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction)
I was sent a copy of this book via Netgalley to review. This in no way influences my opinion of the book.

Oof this book packs a punch.
In the span of these pages, this book not only tackles subjects such as systematic racism, privilege, and identity, but it also presents one of the most authentic depictions of teenage life that I've read. The complicated family dynamics that come from wanting to protect those you love while acknowledging how ignoring problems can only make things worse. The conve
Sep 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm so glad I picked this up.
Set in 1992 Los Angeles during the riots following the Rodney King trial, this story is poignant and brings to light important societal issues in an accessible way. This book is YA and would no doubt be an excellent read for younger readers, however as an adult I enjoyed it very much too.
ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

‘We have to walk around being perfect all the time just to be seen as human. Don’t you ever get tired of being a symbol?’

Set against the backdrop of the 1992 LA Rodney King riots, in The Black Kids we follow high school senior Ashley as she tries to navigate college applications, teenage gossip and being one of the few black kids at her school. With the news forcing her to think about her own place in the world, and where she fits into it as a privil
Christina Marie
My rating for this one is complex. Because this story is centered around my hometown when I was 5 years old. And the repercussions that penetrated my family & my community... I knew going into this that I would have a different perspective than I do most books.

All of that to say... it’s not a bad book at all. My feelings and thoughts are just incredibly complex. I will say that I liked almost everyone else in the book, except the main character. I just wasn’t a fan of her development — the pace
As it happens so often lately, this book was eye-opening. Also saddening, as well as a real wake up call. But most of all a reminder of how much there is still to do.

And although the book started a bit slow for me, it didn’t take me long to get sucked into it’s powerful narrative. The balance between the historic background of the 1992 Rodney King Riots and the daily life of a Black teenage girl and her family in Los Angeles struck a cord. Because the way the story focused on Ashley’s life at ho
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Black Kids is a journey to read. I really liked the idea of it, and I'm glad that I read it, but I struggled to connect with the main character, and a lot of the characters around her. I loved LaShawn, Jo, and Lana, and I wish they would have had more time instead of the characters who were the focus instead of Ashley and her awful friends. Like I said, though, it's a journey, and you have to see it through with the main character. She's very judgmental about things, especially weight and me ...more
Vanessa Menezes
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
"If there's not justice for one of us, there's no justice for any of us"- That just sums up the whole book!

I think this book is a perfect read for what is going on in the world today and also it educates us how little things have changed along the years since the riots of 1967 and again in 1992.

I learned a lot from reading this book. I think it does a good job highlighting the hurt and injustice that black people face in their day to day lives.

Also all I want to say is :

Also, kudos to the author
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
"I can't tell if loneliness is being black, or being young, or being a girl, or if Lucia's right and I need new friends. I don't know."

This book feels almost like a love letter to Los Angeles, and an honest perspective of Black kids who are coming of age surrounded by white peers. I think this story can especially resonate with Black kids who can relate to the likes of Ashley Bennet or Lashawn Johnson. The (wealthy or poor- in Ashley's case, wealthy) Black kids attending predominately white scho
The Black Kids is a timely and beautifully wrought coming-of-age tale exploring the prevalent and important issues of race, class, privilege, power and violence from the perspective of a teenager from an affluent African-American family and set against the backdrop of troubled '90s Los Angeles and one the most defining moments in Black American history. ”BEFORE: skipping school; tanning by the pool; picking out the perfect prom dress. AFTER: riots; fire; rumours. Sometimes learning who you ARE, ...more
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm also a book blogger

The anticipated read curse strikes again dear friends, and this time it took me a good way through the book to finally work out why it wasn't working for me. The Black Kids is undeniably an important, ground-breaking young adult novel set during the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which echoed the George Floyd/Black Lives Matter protests of 2020 to an uncanny degree, but I felt detached from the story.

The problem I had was with the main character herself. She's a quiet observer, s
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Happy publication day to The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed!
It’s 1992 in Los Angeles, senior year, and for Ashley Bennett nothing was more important than spending her last few weeks in high school with her friends, going to the beach, drinking and smoking, going to prom, and getting into her dream college. Everything changes April 26th, when the police officers responsible for the brutal beating of Rodney King are acquitted. Violent protests break out throughout the city, LA is on fire,
Jul 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-releases
July 01, 2020: This took me around a month to finish reading, not because it was slow but also because it was...slow. I mean, it's an important read and largely character-based which I'm slightly anti-biased towards so the pacing is super slow and that took some time for me to make actual progress through this. Anyway, this was great!

The Black Kids is a teen girl's story set in the 1990s during a period of community uproar demanding justice after the inhumane police brutality seen by Rodney King
MissBecka Gee
This takes place in 1992 during the Rodney King riots.
Sadly, it could have been set in 1965, or even today since so little has changed in all these years.
The characters & writing felt a little flat for such a prominent subject matter, but the heart is there.
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada for my DRC.
Dec 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was really good. The writing blew me away, honestly. I feel like a lot of Black protest books follow a similar theme and style, but this wasn’t really a protest book. The riots are there and intersect with the plot, but Ashley is dealing with friends and family problems and normal coming of age stuff. It’s really good. Like beautiful writing and relatable. He played around with structure sometimes. I like that this was kind of weird, like a sort of artsy coming of age movie.

This also explo
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
The Black Kids is set in 1992 around the events of the Rodney King incident, the trial in which the officers who brutalized him were acquitted, and the riots in its aftermath in LA. The book tells the story of a teenaged Ashley Bennett who attends a posh high school and hopes to go to Stanford. Her family are fairly wealthy—both parents well qualified and in good jobs, they live in an affluent neighbourhood, the only Black family there, and she has a full-time nanny/governess, Lucia. At school t ...more
Kate (GirlReading)
3.5* A poignant exploration of finding your place, people and voice in a world that's fighting to make it as hard as possible for you to do so.

The fact that this book felt like a contemporary (despite being set nearly 30 years ago) and the way the events of the 1992 LA riots are still being mirrored to this day, shows just how far we as a society still have to go in tearing down and standing up agains systematic racism and police brutality and I thought this book did a brilliant job at highligh
Angus (Just Angus)
Feb 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars. This is one of the few YA books I've read where I felt like I was ACTUALLY reading about teenagers. Their mannerisms, the way they spoke, acted, and reacted to situations just felt so genuine and authentic. On top of that, this is a really powerful and important read that deals with some deep and serious territory surrounding race, identity and police brutality. I found this book so informative, emotionally charged, and grounded in a horrific, real-life historic event. This is definit ...more
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When a book hits you in all the feels, it's so hard to collate exactly what you want to say and write in a way thats articulate. The Black Kids has really broken my ability to think clearly, it was everything I wanted it to be and more. It made me laugh, it made me cry and overall it left a warm glow in my heart.

The timing of the publication seems almost crazy, with the protests that have swept the world mirrored so perfectly in these pages (although this fictional take is set around the LA rio
Julie Eshbaugh
Dec 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Guys, THIS BOOK! Christina Hammonds Reed has written a poetic, evocative story that affected me more than any other book I read this year. And the narrator, actress Kiersey Clemons, is pitch perfect as Ashley Bennett, a wealthy Black girl in her final weeks at an exclusive high school in Los Angeles just as the officers who beat Rodney King are acquitted. This book is an excellent coming-of-age story, and should be in every classroom. Teacher friends, you will want to recommend this one to your ...more
Deacon Tom F
Mar 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Story for Today’s Culture

I was enchanted with the passion and reality of "Black Kids” by Cristina Hammons Reed. This coming-of-age novel explores issues of race, class, family struggle and violence.

The plot follows a group of mostly affluent high school students led by Ashley Bennett as they encounter the 1992 LA riots from the perspective of well off black students. Oh, a few are less fortunate but the kids all go to a private high school with a very large tuition. Life is full of the usual
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
This synopsis and that cover had me clamoring to get my greedy hands on this book.

I really liked Ashley. She’s smart and driven and slightly sheltered in a way she didn’t completely realize. Her growth while the story unfolded was fantastic and I truly enjoyed reading her find her voice and happiness. There are a good amount of characters, but this story is Ashley’s.

Plot wise, it was captivating. Of course it’s heartbreaking to read things that took place over 25 years ago and find so many simi
Aug 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you Simon and Schuster for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Black Kids
By: Christina Hammonds Reed


I am fortunate to review The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed as part of the Simon and Schuster book tour. First, I must mention the striking dazzling cover art. What a wow factor! Now, as for the story, I was just a bit younger than our heroine, Ashley, in 1992. I do remember watching the L.A. riots on television and
Aug 12, 2020 marked it as dnf-zone  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary, arcs
DNF 20% | 12/08/2020

From the first few pages I was forcing myself to read this book. I knew I wouldn’t click with it from the first lines, but the synopsis sounded so good, the cover is BEAUTIFUL, and I wanted to read more books like The Hate U Give. I thought I could try and surpass the 30% mark where the story seemed to pick up for a lot of people, but I wasn’t feeling it at all. So here we are.

There’s no easy way to put this but I really dislike all the characters and the writing style. The f
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Christina Hammonds Reed holds an MFA in Film and Television Production from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. Her short fiction has previously appeared in the Santa Monica Review. She lives in Hermosa Beach, CA.

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