Tracey Beaumont has always believed in her father, even after he was convicted and sentenced to death. She keeps her faith by regularly writing letters to Innocence X, which advocates for the wrongfully imprisoned. When her world is rocked once more by accusations against her brother, she does more than write. With a thirst for justice, she follows clues that unravel the hidden history of her town. But time is not on her side. With her brother on the run, the police manhunt is growing more fervent. Meanwhile, Tracey's investigations have caught the attention of long-hidden white supremacist organizations that will do anything to see her fail. Uniting a well-paced mystery with lessons about history and activism, Kim Johnson has penned a tale that manages to teach and thrill. Not only does it illuminate how prejudice can lie dormant and operate in the darkness, but it also shows how a community can rally to heal and support young people dealing with legacies of hate. This strong debut will strike home with socially conscious readers. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.Review by PW Annex Reviews
Activist Johnson's powerful debut is a timely testimony that echoes the social realities behind today's #BlackLivesMatter protests. For seven years, Tracy Beaumont, a Black 17-year-old, has written letters to Innocence X, a legal firm representing wrongfully convicted people on death row, begging them to take her father's case. Her dad has less than one year left before he is executed by Texas for murder; the Beaumonts know both that he is innocent and that it's easier for Galveston County to believe that a Black man committed the crime than to face the possibility of his innocence. As the clock ticks, Tracy is forced to relive her father's arrest when a white sheriff accuses her elder brother, college-bound athlete Jamal, of murdering a white girl. Faced with the possibility of losing another family member to an unjust judicial system, Tracy begins her own investigation into the incident. Weaving together a gripping murder mystery and a heartfelt narrative about a girl trying to save her family, Johnson explores the systemic, generational effects of police brutality, mass incarceration, and racism on the Black community. Through Tracy's work as an advocate, high school journalist, and Know Your Rights workshop leader, the author also offers a lens into combating social inequalities and their effects. A list of resources and suggested reading arms readers with valuable tools to promote change. Ages 12–up. Agent: Jennifer March Soloway, Andrea Brown Literary. (July) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly Annex.
Sending weekly letters to an organization she hopes will save her innocent father from death row, 17-year-old Tracy uncovers racist community secrets when her track star brother is wrongly accused of murder. A first novel. Simultaneous eBook.Review by Publisher Summary 2
"Incredible and searing." --Nic Stone, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dear MartinThe Hate U Give meets Just Mercy in this unflinching yet uplifting first novel that explores the racist injustices in the American justice system.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?Fans of Nic Stone, Tiffany D. Jackson, and Jason Reynolds won't want to miss this provocative and gripping debut.