Arts

‘I’m Not Dying With You Tonight’ Fosters Empathy And Understanding For Young Adults

"I'm Not Dying With You Tonight" was released on Aug. 6 with a book launch at the Decatur Library this evening.
"I'm Not Dying With You Tonight" was released on Aug. 6 with a book launch at the Decatur Library this evening.
Credit Summer Evans / WABE

Authors Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal joined forces to create the young adult novel “I’m Not Dying With You Tonight.”

The plot tackles complex race relations at a fictitious Atlanta high school. It’s told from the perspective of two students: one white, one black.

After riots break out at McPherson High School, the two students, Campbell and Lena, have to stick together in order to survive.

The book chronicles what goes on during a four-hour span of riots, violence and protests. The novel shows how each of the girls handle situations with police, looters, racial bias and violence.

The two Atlanta authors met in a book club for Young Adult Readers at Little Shop of Stories, where Jones was the store manager.

After the 2015 unrest in Baltimore following the shooting of Freddie Gray, this idea for a book inspired Segal. She approached Jones and asked if they could write the book, each from their own perspectives.

“We wanted to help teenagers enter the conversation and process what that moment [in Baltimore] might have been for them,” Segal said.

Jones added, “To process these tough situations, teenagers are far more capable of having this tougher conversations then we realize or give them credit for. So we felt that giving a book to teens, librarians, and parents [about these difficult issues] was a tool to help them open up and have these conversations.”

There will be a book launch event hosted by the Little Shop of Stories at the Decatur Library starting at 7:15 p.m. tonight.