Select language, opens an overlay
The Black Kids

The Black Kids

Book - 2020
Average Rating:
Rate this:
With the Rodney King riots closing in on high school senior Ashley and her family, the privileged bubble she has enjoyed, protecting her from the difficult realities most black people face, begins to crumble
Los Angeles, 1992. It's the end of senior year and Ashley Bennett and her friends are spending more time at the beach than in the classroom. When four LAPD officers are acquitted after beating a black man named Rodney King half to death, violent protests engulf LA and the city burns. Ashley tries to continue on as if life were normal; her self-destructive sister gets dangerously involved in the riots. The model black family façade her wealthy and prominent parents built starts to crumble. Her friends are spreading a rumor that could completely derail the future of her classmate and fellow black kid, LaShawn Johnson. Ashley is left to question who is the us? And who is the them? -- adapted from jacket
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster BFYR, [2020]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781534462724
Characteristics: 362 pages ; 22 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Apr 04, 2021

I loved this book. It is YA fiction, a history book, an affirmation of marginalized people. Not only is it relevant, but it deals with events I knew little about and explains them with elegance and poignancy. I highly recommend this book.

IndyPL_TammieB Mar 12, 2021

This book has a much older setting than the others on this list, based on events of 1992. Believe it or not, I was in my senior year of high school and I remember the Rodney King case and the riots. The impact spread from LA to the Midwest and beyond. This book addresses real characters with real problems and desires, without forgetting the social reality in which they are living at the time, and intertwines family history to connect the threads. It has a very unique writing style, but it is well suited to the story of the book. this book touches on so much more than just police brutality. This book much more than just police brutality and racism, it is about black wall street, light skin privilege in families and generational mental health.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Mar 09, 2021

This historical novel set against the backdrop of the 1992 LA Riots (yes, that's long enough ago that this is historical fiction) is a worthy addition to the current wave of teen social justice fiction.

This book was educational, funny and a little mature. This is not the first time I've heard of the riots, raids, and fires in Los Angeles but it was a really an eye opening book into this girl and her family's life. It also showed how sometimes you don't feel like you fit in any group of people, and like the book said sometimes there's a we, a them , and an us. Props to the author. 😊

hmartn Dec 24, 2020

Beautifully written coming-of-age story set during the Rodney King Riots.

JCLMegB Oct 31, 2020

An eye-opening inside look into what it might have felt like to be a wealthy black teen living in LA during the Rodney King riots. Ashley struggles to understand her identity as a black woman, which is complicated by her attendance at a mostly white, expensive private school as well as her parents' desire to shield she and her sister from the struggles they've had as people of color. Definitely a relevant book in 2020 given the current racial unrest in America.

JCLChrisK Oct 20, 2020

A nuanced, layered story of a significant moment in a young person's life. This is a character-driven book about Ashley, and also about all the people in her life, and what they learn about themselves and each other during the riots after the Rodney King trial. Ashley lives a privileged life in a wealthy part of L.A., about to graduate from an exclusive, wealthy school as the only Black person in her group of friends. Reactions to events in other parts of the city lead her to a series of realizations about those privileges, both ones she has and ones she lacks, as there is no escaping the wide-spread tumult. The story is intimate, grounded, and complex, spending as much time in everyday details and mundane moments as the big, historic one. It is a portrayal of real life, both ordinary and momentous.

Aug 06, 2020

Set in 1992, Christina Hammonds Reed’s debut novel, is as relevant today as 1992 when the novel is set in Los Angeles. Ashley is a privileged Black teenager looking forward to graduating from high school. She’s been able to do things many other Black kids. Then the police officers who on are trial for beating Rodney King are acquitted, and she is forced to reexamine who she is. This is a story of personal growth during a time when justice did not seem possible for all…so it’s very relevant today. Its also a story of friendship and taking responsibility.


Add a Quote
IndyPL_TammieB Mar 12, 2021

“Sometimes being different means hiding pieces of yourself away so other people's mean can't find them.”

JCLMegB Oct 31, 2020

“My mom and her sister aren’t close, and when I was a kid, I didn’t understand why. How do you go from seeing each other every day for eighteen years to not even visiting each other when you live only a handful of miles away? I thought. But now I understand it, I think. Sometimes the act of growing up cleaves you apart, and even though you walk through the world made of the same stuff, you can’t quite make your way back to the start. There’s too much matter between you. I don’t want Jo and me to be like Mom and Carol—only Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter siblings. Pass-the-turkey sisters. Somebody’s died, let’s reminisce and then go our separate ways family.”

JCLMegB Oct 31, 2020

“Because even though you final enact a Civil Rights Act not even thirty years ago, it doesn’t erase centuries of unequal wealth, unequal access, unequal schooling, unequal living conditions, unequal policing. You can’t tell people to pull up on their bootstraps when half of them never even had any boots to begin with, never even had the chance to get them. Or when you let people burn whole, thriving black communities to the ground and conveniently forget about it. Because maybe the problem isn’t only with “bad” people; maybe the problem is with the whole system.
Because we’re supposed to be better than that in this country. Whoever we are. Because we can be. Sometimes people do real stupid shit when they feel invisible or powerless. Doesn’t make it right, but maybe at least we can try to understand a little?”


Add Age Suitability
IndyPL_TammieB Mar 12, 2021

IndyPL_TammieB thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


Add a Summary
IndyPL_TammieB Mar 12, 2021

The perfect picture of the perfect wealthy black family for LA’s Ashley Bennett begins to fade quickly after the Rodney King case. While Ashley tries to continue her life, the only black girl amongst her all-white childhood friends, as normal, her sister gets involved in the riots. Her friends are spreading rumors that she accidentally started and that could destroy a classmate. Her sheltered life has cracked and opens her up to a consciousness of reality of even her own racism.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at MCFL

To Top