“I like a touch of drama every now and again, but this is over the top. I never wanted to star in an action thriller.”
I’m Not Dying With You Tonight is a spectacular new YA book that is breathtaking in every way! I devoured this book in one night. One night! Once I started, I could not put it down. Part of that is due to the plot taking place in a matter of hours. There isn’t a break in the action, so the urgency to tag along with Lena and Campbell pulled me page after page, until the book was over.
Where to start? Okay. Let’s talk Lena. Oh Lena. How I adore thee and all thy sassy ways. She is bold and unafraid, only willing to move forward towards her goals and doesn’t pay attention to what anyone says otherwise. But that doesn’t mean she has her own doubts, her own insecurities, her own fears. She just has a really hard time showing them.
Cue Campbell. New to the city, new to the school, Campbell can’t find a place where she fits in. She doesn’t have friends, doesn’t have track, doesn’t have her mom. So when she finds herself essentially running the concession stand at the Friday night game, she’s never felt more alone.
Lena wants to meet up with her boyfriend and Campbell just wants to go home, but when a fight breaks out at the game, Lena and Campbell only have each other to rely on. And they don’t know each other at all.
“This is an explosion that goes on and on. In reality, no one on this street is safe, no matter what they’re doing out here.”
As I said, this book starts at the beginning of the game and takes us on a continuous journey as Lena and Campbell try to find their way out of the chaos. This makes the book compulsive and addicting. You are in the fight with the girls. You feel their panic as they try to avoid the escalating violence no matter what direction they turn. Their emotions are vivid and powerful and some across vividly on the pages.
This is a story of two very different girls who find themselves with no one but each other. They have to overcome their differences and learn to see past their own biases and preconceived notions of who they think the other is. It’s a fantastic snapshot at how one night can change the way we think about ourselves and the world, and I think will raise very real-life conversations with the teens who read it.
Beyond the larger scope of issues, I love that these girls are so opposite, and yet, they find themselves bonding anyway. They say things to each other that they never would in normal circumstances. Not in mean girl ways, but in total honesty kind of ways. They learn about themselves while they learn about each other, and this kind of openness and growth makes my eyes leak. I cannot express how much I adore this message.
I adored how this book explores real-life issues on the macro level, but the detail and focus is on the individual experience. This is about the girls. What they think, what they feel, how they interpret the events around them and judge each other. I think it’s so insightful and can help break down barriers for teens to have honest and open conversations, not just about the book but about these bigger world issues as well.
“I definitely wouldn’t have picked her, but we gave this night the business. We held each other down.”
I’m Not Dying With You Tonight has all my favorite things. Relatable characters. Real world issues. Vivid prose. And girls overcoming real-life obstacles and coming together. I will be raving about this book until it comes out October 1, and then I’ll rave some more. Absolutely loved it!
Thank you Teenreads and Sourcebooks Fire for sending me this book.