August 6, 2019
Blurb: Lena has her killer style, her awesome boyfriend, and a plan. She knows she’s going to make it big. Campbell, on the other hand, is just trying to keep her head down and get through the year at her new school.
When both girls attend the Friday-night football game, what neither expects is for everything to descend into sudden mass chaos. Chaos born from violence and hate. Chaos that unexpectedly throws them together.
They aren’t friends. They hardly understand the other’s point of view. But none of that matters when the city is up in flames, and they only have each other to rely on if they’re going to survive the night.
Far too often lately I’ve felt like I’ve read prescient books, or perhaps that I’ve not been paying closer attention to past events. Both may be true, I am more than willing to concede.
I’m Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal is a powerful, unrelenting book that is as much a page turner as it is a force-of-nature.
Lena is a popular girl but puts all of her faith in her boyfriend, “Black”, who sometimes doesn’t answer her texts or isn’t there when she needs him. Campbell has just moved from her private school to this new town for her senior year after her mother gets a job in South America and can’t take her with her and is just trying to blend in. She and her father are just trying to make ends meet.
Where Lena is street-wise and knowing, Campbell is naive, used to a safe space. Lena believes that Campbell has everything going for her, Campbell knows that’s not true. During the course of a very harsh night, both girls learn a lot about each other, realizing that the knowledge they possess about each other before is wrong, very wrong.
When I say that this book is unrelenting, I mean it. Never does it let up. A few scenes in and you just need to buckle up and hang on. Even when you think things are about to let up and the girls are safe and sound, you’re wrong.
The girls irritate each other at times, frequently, but they come to have a better understanding of each other, and may even grow as close as people can be through the difficulties they encounter. They accept and even defend each other even though before this night they would probably have never even contemplated friendship. They see their own preconceptions, their misuse of words, their misconceptions.
I liked how this novel was told from both points-of-view and in two different voices. The voices sounded realistic to me. The ideas felt real. I felt like Lena and Campbell were presenting their worlds very realistically and that I could feel their realities. I also felt that their sharing was real.
I did feel that maybe the novel ran a bit long, that at one point I reached saturation, but maybe that was intentional. Maybe we all need to feel a beyond-saturation point in order to fully comprehend this experience. Maybe we need to go that extra bit just to *feel* in a world that has become so inured to the suffering of people, our neighbors, friends. If that was indeed the point, I got it. I feel. Definitely.
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
4 butterflies and a ladybug out of 5 butterflies