BJ’s Standout Reads: December 2018

The last standout reads for the year!  I cannot believe how quickly 2018 went by! December was a busy month, here’s what kept me sane through holiday preparations this year.

BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music enjoyed One Of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus.One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

This one was such an interesting concept.  Five high school kids were in detention one day, one of them dropped dead—the other four are suspects.  Which one did it?  This story took us through the story of each kid and how they related to the deceased one.  Turns out the deceased kid ran a blog where he outed all the secrets of his classmates, and he had some juicy ones on these kids in detention that day.  These secrets would have outright destroyed any of these kids—they all had motive to kill this boy.  This one kept me guessing until close to the end, and the ending was brilliant.  Well worth the read.



BJ Knapp author of Beside the Music enjoyed Dear Martin by Nik Stone.Dear Martin by Nik Stone

This is one of those books that forced me to have a look at a problem that is facing African Americans all over the US—the issue of racial profiling.  The story opens with our protagonist Justyce is helping his white girlfriend on the side of the road.  She’s absolutely wasted and he’s trying to get her home safely.  A cop pulls up and assumes the worst at seeing a young black man and a drunk white woman.  He arrests Justyce on the spot and doesn’t allow him the opportunity to explain. 

Justyce is a young black man in an elite private school where he is outnumbered.  He struggles with balancing his future in a predominately white world and his past in a poor inner city neighborhood.  The issue of race slaps him every time he turns his head.  Will he go to Yale or will he join a gang as he’s trying to figure out who he is in a world that he’s noticing is stacked against him because of the color of his skin. 

As a white woman, these are things I do not face.  And Nik Stone did a great job of telling a very plausible story that opened my eyes to just how unfair the question of race can be.


BJ Knapp is the author of Beside the Music, available for purchase here. Please sign up for the Backstage with BJ Knapp mailing list to get updates on events, signings, dog pictures and so much more.

added on 12.28.18

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