Rummanah Aasi
 Every week, 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?

Review: Every week Tracy has been writing letters to Innocence X, a non-for-profit organization that helps those who are unjustly in jail for a crime they did not commit, on behalf of her father, who has been sentenced to death row in their home state of Texas and wrongfully accused of murder. With less than three hundred days, Tracy is in a race against time to free her father. Tracy holds on deeply to hope that  her father will be exonerated and people will recognize failures in our justice system. As if this was not hard enough, Tracy and her family are thrown for a second loop when her older brother Jamal, a track star, is accused of killing his secret white girlfriend. Could these two cases be connected? 
    Weaving together gripping murder mysteries 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. The discussion of racism, both explicit and implicit, are not sugar coated  and will be poignant for many readers. My minor qualms of the novel is an unnecessary love triangle that is a bit distracting from the overall narrative. I also wanted a bit more discussion regarding the skeletons in the closet in regards to the big reveals in the book. Nonetheless, This is My America is timely, powerful, thought provoking, and Tracy is a budding activist who demands change.  

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, mentions of lynching, hate crime, and a scene of underage drinking at a party. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

 If you like this book try: Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, Dear Justyce by Nic Stone, Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusuf Salaam
1 Response
  1. I thought this was a fantastic book and hope it gets good press. I think students would really like reading it.

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