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The Black Kids  By  cover art

The Black Kids

By: Christina Hammonds Reed
Narrated by: Kiersey Clemons
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Publisher's summary

"Should be required reading in every classroom." (Nic Stone, number one New York Times best-selling author of Dear Martin)

"A true love letter to Los Angeles." (Brandy Colbert, award-winning author of Little & Lion)

"A brilliantly poetic take on one of the most defining moments in Black American history." (Tiffany D. Jackson, author of Grown and Monday’s Not Coming)

Perfect for fans of The Hate U Give, this unforgettable coming-of-age debut novel explores issues of race, class, and violence through the eyes of a wealthy Black teenager whose family gets caught in the vortex of the 1992 Rodney King Riots.

Los Angeles, 1992

Ashley Bennett and her friends are living the charmed life. It’s the end of senior year, and they’re spending more time at the beach than in the classroom. They can already feel the sunny days and endless possibilities of summer.

Everything changes one afternoon in April, when four LAPD officers are acquitted after beating a Black man named Rodney King half to death. Suddenly, Ashley’s not just one of the girls. She’s one of the Black kids.

As violent protests engulf LA and the city burns, Ashley tries to continue on as if life were normal. Even as her self-destructive sister gets dangerously involved in the riots. Even as the model Black family façade her wealthy and prominent parents have built starts to crumble. Even as her best friends help spread a rumor that could completely derail the future of her classmate and fellow Black kid, LaShawn Johnson.

With her world splintering around her, Ashley, along with the rest of LA, is left to question who is the us? And who is the them?

©2020 Christina Hammonds Reed. All rights reserved. (P)2020 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

Critic reviews

A New York Times best seller
A William C. Morris Award Finalist

Editor's Pick

Debut YA novel packs a powerful, timely punch
It’s 1992 and Ashley Bennett lives a charmed life with her wealthy friends in Los Angeles. Nearing the end of their senior year, the teens split their time between prom prep and ditching school to lounge by the pool. Yet everything changes when Rodney King is beaten, the white LAPD officers involved are acquitted, and violent riots cause sections of the city to burn. This novel is scarily relevant to our times. Coming mere months after the impassioned protests following the death of George Floyd, there’s an eerie prescience to The Black Kids, which makes this story so important, not just for teens but for adults too. Actress Kiersey Clemons’s raw performance beautifully captures the essence of our main character and makes her easy to relate to. We’re all a little unsure of ourselves, of how to make the right choices, and whom we consider an ally. Following Ashley Bennett’s journey as she tries to figure that out is heartening and enlightening, and makes me feel there really is hope for change. —Margaret H., Audible Editor

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What listeners say about The Black Kids

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The Black Kids

This book took me down memory lane. I don’t know if it was because my family and I lived through the riots that made me feel every word that was said or it was because of how well it was written. Either way it was tough memories but a good read. I recommend it for anyone wanting to know what it was like for black kids on the other side of the tracks the “good side”.

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For The Love Of The Oreo Cookie

A very highly cultured black girl growing up in the suburbs of the out skirts of Los Angeles. She is very beautiful in her views. Her family life is the American dream. This is a great read for young adults.

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not what we expected

The book is ok, not really what we expected. At times the story has no purpose and certain parts can be left out.

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Amazing

I loved I really hope she writes a spin off I wanna know what happens during there college days

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Need the next chapter

Although my high school years were decades ago, I was captivated by the story. What happened to Jo? Did Ashley transfer to Stanford and she and LaShaun become a thing? What happened to Lona after graduation? I have too many questions about the book and it's characters that a second must be in these works. The narrator was perfect! Looking forward to listening to another book she narrates.

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Great listen

I really enjoyed this story. The backdrop of early 90’s LA was beautifully interweaved. This is a coming of age story of a well-off teen black girl who comes to understand what it means to be who she is amidst: friendships, family, her black identity, socioeconomic status —- ultimately bringing her to a place of deciding who she wants to be. I loved the multifaceted dynamics among the relationships in the story.

If you enjoy YA, race & social relations, coming of age, and complicated family dynamics, give it a shot.

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  • 09-03-23

Loved it!!!

This book was good and I think all young black kids should read it to get a better overstanding of what our ancestors actually went through and what black parents have and still go through to give them a better life. Also for them to see no matter how accepting we are of others races they still consider us "THE BLACK KIDS"

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For the “Oreos” of the world

Finally a book written from the POV of black girls who grew up in predominantly white spaces during times of civil unrest. This author gets it. Down to swallowing your disgust at micro aggressions to the anxiety that comes with not knowing how to react to overt racism. Loved the mental health talk too. Bravo!

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?

Difficult to listen to and to finish. Narration was monotone. What exactly was the plot?

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Too much cursing

Idk why teen books have to have so much cursing. Stopped it early and would return if I could.

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