Title: This Is My America
Author: Kim Johnson
Audience: Young Adult
Narrator: Bahni Turpin
Length: ~9.5 hours (416 pages)
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books; Listening Library
Release Date: July 28, 2020
Source: Libro.fm Educator ALC
Recommended for Fans of: The Hate U Give, Dear Martin, A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder
Content Warning: racism, white supremacy, hate crimes, murder, police corruption, KKK
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.
What an incredible debut! I loved so much about this book, which gave me vibes of The Hate U Give meets A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder.
Tracy is such an inspirational main character for young and older readers alike. A high school junior, Tracy writes a social justice column for the school paper, runs Know Your Rights workshops for her community, and tirelessly advocates to free her falsely condemned father. When Tracy’s brother is accused of murder, Tracy puts her investigative journalism skills to use to determine the truth, uncovering racist secrets and corruption in her small Texas town, including a conspiracy that may connect to her father’s case.
This Is My America illustrates the impact on families of mass incarceration and the consequences of a society that is so quick to fear and judge Black males. I appreciated how Kim Johnson included a scene of Tracy leading one of her workshops to teach readers strategies to deescalate encounters with the police. This book addresses so many important racial issues in a poignant way while offering a compelling murder mystery, a strong, relentless heroine, and a little bit of romance. I highly recommend this book to EVERYONE, and I am eagerly awaiting more from Kim Johnson.