One of the Good Ones

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"When teen social activist and history buff Kezi Smith is killed under mysterious circumstances after attending a social justice rally, her devastated sister Happi and their family are left reeling in the aftermath. As Kezi becomes another immortalized victim in the fight against police brutality, Happi begins to question the idealized way her sister is remembered. Perfect. Angelic. One of the good ones. Even as the phrase rings wrong in her mind--why are only certain people deemed worthy to be missed?--Happi and her sister ...

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Courtney

Jan 3, 2021

Missed Opportunity

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I'm going to leave my rating at 3 stars because I am just.so.torn. When I started this book, I told my book club I thought it would be a top 5 read of the year. And it was... until I got to part 3.

Kezi is a growing activist. She has a youtube channel, where she discusses her thoughts on issues affecting the Black community. Finally, she and her girlfriend are going to a rally in person. There, she tries to step in to stop an unwarranted arrest, and she ends up arrested. She is thrown around, roughed up by police and dies. Her two sisters and best friends go on her senior road trip to honor her memory.

This really had a chance to be just.. so important. A staple in showcasing what the Black community is facing. I won't lie, reading it made me uncomfortable, but it's supposed to. I had to really take a look at my white privilege and it was just so tough. I never would think of things the Black community has to face, like leaving your purse or bag up front with you so if you get pulled over, you aren't reaching in the back. That could be taken as aggression. That just broke.my.heart. I cannot imagine and will never be able to understand.

But then I got to part 3. I won't say what happens, but I feel like it really just... cheapened the story? I mean this book made me take a long, hard look at myself, and then it just switched paths so suddenly? This book doesn't have a 'happy' ending, but it isn't the ending I was expecting. I want to say so much, but I'm not because I don't want to spoil it.

I want to recommend this book for the first two parts. I mean, they were impactful. I just don't know how I feel about part 3 and the ending. I'm just conflicted.

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