Dear Martin meets Just Mercy in this unflinching yet uplifting YA novel that explores the racist injustices in the American justice system.
Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time—her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a “thug” on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?
Fans of Nic Stone and Jason Reynolds won’t want to miss this provocative and gripping debut.
Wow where are the words…
The Great: I am in love with Kim Johnson’s writing style—specifically the dialogue. It felt genuine and authentic and i just loved getting to know the characters through their own voices as much as the narrative.
Next, are the characters. The main characters are top notch, each with their own distinct voices and all played key roles within the story. For the first time, in my reading experience, I don’t consider anyone in the cast side characters. Just a collective of characters that help move the plot and storyline.
I also especially enjoyed the plot. Johnson did a fabulous job of creating a story that, unfortunately, some of us are no stranger too. She masterfully peels back layers of the injustice that continuously afflicts black people in this country. It’s not just Tracy’s dad or brother who are beat down by a fractured system. Its Tracy, her younger sister Corrine, and their mother as well. Who have to go out into the world with their heads held high while their shoulders are weighed down by misplaced and wrongful guilt. Can you imagine knowing deep in your bones someone’s innocence. And that someone is a person you love with all of your heart and soul. And spend seven years fighting for the rest of the world—No the people in power to also see and acknowledge it. The toll it takes on your spirit. And the loss of faith in humanity? Let me tell you, Tracy is a million times stronger than I was when I was seventeen years old. And it’s not just the loss of self, but the loss of community. We watch as neighbors and friends interact with them differently or choose not to interact with them at all. All of that is precious time, that no one gets back. Johnson did a great job revealing and describing all of these facets. And I seriously hope, that when you pick up This Is My America, you understand and experience just a fragment of the pain we feel when faced with these situations.
And finally, the complex hints of romance throughout the story. Now although the story includes my least favorite trope, the love triangle, this particular love triangle is layered with bias, prejudice, pain and reflection. As for which team I rooted for? I will only have that discussion with people who’ve read the book! SO GET TO IT
The Good: The pace was both steady and fast at just the right intervals. Although I put the book down a few times, it was mostly because of the weight of the major theme.
The Cry😦new section alert) I most definitely balled my eyes out at the end of the story. Big fact ugly tears! And you know what I say about feeling things externally lol (instant five palm leaves!)
Also the Author’s Note is A MUST-READ! And that’s all I will say about it.
Overall, this book is absolutely a necessary read! And you most definitely need to add it to your TBR now!