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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”.

2 people found this helpful

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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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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.

2 people found this helpful

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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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So Good

This book was so good I finished it in less than a day. I really recommend it 😎

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What does a 21 year old black women thinks about this book called the black kids?

As a young black women in her early 20s I enjoyed this book. I have my pros and cons I will get into that later. I will say the cover of this book is absolutely stunning, I love the colors and I love the illustrations for the cover of the book. The person who is reading the book did a great job. Now let’s get into my pros and cons


The black kids book review pros and cons


Pros: This book talks about real life issues that still go on today. Examples police Brutality among the black Community even now in the year of 2021

Pro 2: Ashley character changes throughout the book in a good way. She starts to learn more about her history and start to become a young woman instead of a naïve teenager.

Pro 3: I like how Ashley spoke up for her self when her white friends kept saying the N word. Ashley friends thought it was funny to say the N word at first Ashley laughs at the fact but when she digs more into her black history and seeing the riots of the Rodney king beating she sticks up for herself.

Pro: 4 Ashley has a beautiful black family… with some difficulties lol but.. I like how the author added both parents into Ashley life. I’m so tired of seeing and reading about the single black mom for x amount of kids raising them alone.

Pro:5 Ashley realize it’s ok to put yourself out there and make new friends. Even if you feel scared because you may feel like you don’t belong.

I have a lot more pros lol but let’s get into the cons

Con 1: The book was dragging at some parts I got bored and I put the book down for a couple of days, because some pages I’m the book were just boring and some parts didn’t need to be in the book.

Con:2 Black trauma I want give out to many details in the section but the book really hit me when Ashley asked what happened to her Grandma Shirley… it was very sad and disturbing. It made me mad actually.

Cons: 3 Her white friends lol now before you say anything some of Ashley white friends were pretty nice but some of them got on my nerves they were so basic you know.

Cons 4: I feel like this book is mostly for teenagers instead of young adults in their 20s… I mean I can kinda relate to Ashley story but in some parts of the book I couldn’t. But I will say this book will make a good movie for sure!!!

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A good listen for young adults

A great book for any teeneager to listen to. The Black Kids is a story told through the eyes and experiences of a young black girl growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood/school during the Rodney King era. The story subtly touches on races, class, and identity as Ashley navigates through her senior year, slowly realizing the truths about the worlds she lives in. This story is completely relatable for black middle class teenagers, whose parents are trying to 'give them a better life'. The reader was consistent, no alarming tones and the story was smooth and well-written. You do lose the concept in time but it doesn't matter.