One of the Good Ones

Inkyard. Jan. 2021. 384p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781335145802.
Gr 9 Up–Keziah Leah Smith is a YouTube vlogger and activist. She’s just turned 18, and she’s excited about attending her first Black Lives Matter protest—but an interaction with police at the rally ends with Kezi losing her life. Her sisters Happi and Genny and her best friends Ximena and Derek decide to honor Kezi by taking a road trip on Route 66. This special road trip was designed by Kezi as a graduation gift to herself and a way for her to reconnect with her sisters. Kezi, a Black history enthusiast, used the Negro Motorist Green Book to craft her trip. Now her sisters will take the journey for her. Happi is a reluctant traveler as she laments her broken relationship with Kezi. As the trip unfolds, Happi learns not only about the history of her family’s involvement with the Green Book but also how she can reconnect with the older sister she didn’t get a chance to truly know. This book is largely about what version of being Black is deemed acceptable to white society. The question of Blackness as it pertains to acceptability is examined through several lenses. The novel makes it clear that there are multiple ways to be a Black person in America, and that acceptability doesn’t equal safety.
VERDICT A thrilling read for fans of historical and realistic fiction. A great title for public and school libraries.

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