“I’m Not Dying With You Tonight” Book Review

Im+Not+Dying+With+You+Tonight+Book+Review

Haley Moreland '22, Assistant News Editor

This summer, I was browsing through Barnes and Noble, hoping to find something to read that would distract me from the chaos that is 2020. What I found instead, was a book that gave me a new perspective on this year. That book was called I’m Not Dying With You Tonight, a novel co-authored by two women named Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal. Together, the pair wrote a story about two girls – one black and one white – trying to stick together in a night full of race-fueled rioting that broke out at their high school football field. I found that the book’s publication was perfectly timed, lining up at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests. The story itself is a quick read – I finished it in one day – but the contents of the book keep you on the edge of your seat. You never know what the next challenge is going to look like, and as things start to escalate, the authors weave in the racial tension seen in everyday life flawlessly. I found the conversations between the two main characters very authentic, and thought that the authors did a great job of showing how people from two different cultural backgrounds are able to befriend one another despite their differences. 

 

I won’t spoil the plot, but if you’re on the fence about reading it, the back of the book pretty much sealed the deal for me. Two strangers pairing up for a crazy night sounded like a good story, at least personally. However, I didn’t expect to feel as informed as I did after reading it. Kimberly Jones, being a black woman, says in the authors’ note that she and Gilly Segal tried their best to make their characters relatable. They did a very good job. Even with all of the setting changes, frightening situations, and deep racial conversations in the story, they still managed to accurately comment on and depict the life of a typical teenage girl. Both characters have concerns that we as teenage students think about – the boy we like, college applications, and (for those like me who don’t have their license yet) finding a ride when we need to get places. The book is intense and yet intimate at the same time. And if you’re looking to educate yourself on race issues, the story includes genuine and educational commentary from both black and white perspectives, highlighting the story with a narrative that is colorful and interesting.