GoodReads Summary: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?
Thoughts: Thank you to Netgalley and Random House for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for my review.
The reality for Black people is that the America that they live in is not the same America that others know. The reality is that their America looks completely different and at a young age they learn what it means to be Black and live in America. This is the story that Tracy Beaumont wants you to know, she wants you to recognize the difference in the America that her and her family is being forced to grow up in.
What I like about this book is that it is real and the author isn’t afraid to bring up topics that are important. You get to see the real time feelings of not only Tracy but her younger sister, Corinne who was born after her dad was in jail and is watching her brother be chased by the police. You get to see as Tracy’s friend, Dean, struggles with his mother’s racism and his own thoughts surrounding what is happening. This is one of my favorite scenes as Dean struggles with his privilege and his inherent bias towards Black people, while Tracy doesn’t comfort him and allows him to sit in his feelings.
You not only see Tracy’s father doing jail time on death row for something he didn’t do but you also see her brother trying to prove his innocence. You see how easy it is for the police to pin these crimes on Tracy’s family with no proof and how it cost the life of one Black man as he tries to claim he’s innocent. You watch as Tracy tries to continue on with her life and everyone around her tries to keep her from getting in trouble. You watch her struggle with not being able to just be silent about the injustice that her family and community has been and is being put through.
Something else that I found important was that this book shows the race relations between Black people and white people. We saw these relations through Tracy’s friendship with Dean, and his mother’s reactions towards Tracy after her father was sent to jail. I really enjoy reading as Tracy and Dean’s relationship develops and Tracy struggles with what it would mean for her to date Dean. We also saw these relations through Jamal’s relationship with Angela and how that relationship ultimately causes Jamal to be in trouble while Angela’s boyfriend doesn’t get questioned at all.
I recommend this book to those of you who enjoy Nic Stone’s Dear Martin or Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give. This is a must read book for all and is a great way to show young adults the reality of what being Black in America means. I would highly recommend this book to white people who are looking for something to help them understand what Black people go through on a regular basis.
You can pre-order this book at Eso Won Books, or look for it at your local library coming out July 28.