This Is My America

This Is My America

by Kim Johnson
Genres: Civil Rights, Fiction, Young Adult
Published on July 28, 2020
Pages: 416
Format: eBook Source: Library

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.

This book stressed me out enough that I had to do something that I never, never do. I went and read the last chapter. Then I backed up two more chapters and read from there. I just had to get a general idea of how things were going to end up before I could keep reading this book. Otherwise I was planning on sending it right back to the library without reading it.

This is a YA book that addresses police injustice and brutality. Tracy was a child when her father was arrested for a murder that he didn’t commit. His business partner was killed by the police when he didn’t open the door when they went to arrest him too. Tracy now teaches classes for Black people to know their rights when they are stopped by the police. Even with all her knowledge she’s unprepared for what happens when her brother is arrested for the murder of a classmate.

This book focuses on generations of families who have been impacted by racism and its effects. How do you keep a family together when your son is judged to be a probable killer because your husband has been wrongly convicted of murder? Can you avoid being racist if you come from a racist family? Can a community move past a history of race-based violence?

The story is followed by a very good discussion section where the author discusses some of the historical facts behind the story and her inspirations.