This book is a page-turner from start to finish. I raced through it and I’m not sorry. Though it’s billed as a YA novel, the story and lessons are important for all ages.This Is My America reveals how our inability to examine and reconcile with the legacy of anti-Black racism in the country. Kim Johnson’s debut novel is a searing investigation of mass incarceration told through the lens Tracy Beaumont, a high school journalist and activist. After her father was sentenced to death seven years ago, Tracy fights to exonerate him before time runs out. With less than a year left, Tracy’s older brother, a star track athlete, is on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Not knowing who to trust as she fights for justice on two fronts, Tracy works to unravel the mysteries of two murders that have upended her family’s lives, all while being a teenager navigating the everyday and historical biases engrained into this small Texas town. Beyond being exciting, the book is an eye-opening read for someone who has not had to endure the emotional labor of racial injustice.This will be a book worth revisiting. If we’re still going to require kids to read books like To Kill a Mockingbird, then This Is My America should be taught alongside.
"Incredible and searing." --Nic Stone, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin
The Hate U Give meets Just Mercy in this unflinching yet uplifting first 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, Tiffany D. Jackson, and Jason Reynolds won't want to miss this provocative and gripping debut.
About the Author
KIM JOHNSON held leadership positions in social justice organizations as a teen. She's now a college administrator who maintains civic engagement throughout the community while also mentoring Black student activists and leaders. This Is My America is her debut novel. It explores racial injustice against innocent Black men who are criminally sentenced and the families left behind to pick up the pieces. She holds degrees from the University of Oregon and the University of Maryland, College Park. Kim lives her best life in Oregon with her husband and two kids. Find her at KCJOHNSONWRITES.COM and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @kcjohnsonwrites.
An NPR Best Book of the Year
"An incredible and searing examination of the often-tragic collision of racism and a flawed criminal justice system. Read and reread . . . and reread again." —Nic Stone, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin
"This Is My America promises a powerful story about racial injustice, featuring stunning prose reminiscent of Nic Stone and Angie Thomas.” —Paste Magazine
"Harrowing and worthwhile; a call-to-action from the anti-racist insights of a generation of black activists." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Activist Johnson’s powerful debut is a timely testimony that echoes the social realities behind today’s #BlackLivesMatter protests.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"This strong debut will strike home with socially conscious readers." —Booklist
"A strong debut. Will appeal to readers of Angie Thomas and fans of criminal justice podcasts like Serial and In the Dark." —SLJ
“This debut YA novel is an incisive condemnation of the racist criminal justice system, mass incarceration and capital punishment. . . . A necessary add to all shelves, especially those focused on anti-racism and #BlackLivesMatter.” —Shelf Awareness