Title: Our Friendship Matters
Author: Kimberley B Jones
Series: Standalone Title
Genre: YA Fiction
Publisher: Rhetaskew Publishing
Release Date: Oct 5, 2020
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print
Leah and Sasha are 17-year-old friends who had been close to one another since elementary school, but as the summer approaches they find their friendship tested in ways they never anticipated.
Following graduation, Sasha's privileged life and perception of the world around her is suddenly altered when an old childhood friend persuades her to join in a campaign against an injustice after his best friend is killed by the police.
But joining the protest has unforeseen consequences for Sasha, distancing her from Leah, who becomes jealous of Sasha's new friends and finds herself on the opposing side, protesting alongside her group of new white friends.
As the tension mounts between the two bitterly opposed factions, a tragedy strikes and threatens to make Sasha and Leah enemies. Can they find a way to resolve their differences, putting them to the side and learn to accept each other's viewpoints? Or is their long friendship finished for good?
17-year-old best friends Sasha, a black teenager and Leah, a white teen are two girls from affluent backgrounds and live comfortable lives, attending a well-established private Christian academy in St Louis. As they enter their final year, the main things occupying their minds are graduating and their senior prom.
But the lives of two popular girls are about to undergo a transition that neither of them wanted or expected when Mitchell, a young African-American boy from the city’s East View High School is shot and killed while walking home from a basketball game, by a police officer who had mistaken him for someone else.
Now tensions are rising among the community where he lived, and the citizens of St. Louis are angry.
One night, while Sasha is out, she sees her old childhood friend, Ricardo, who is protesting the death of Mitchell. Curious about him and wondering if there is anything, she could do to become involved, Sasha talks to her friends about it.
They aren’t interested in getting involved however, and Sasha’s parents also forbid her from doing anything. As the closely held views she once had are quickly evaporating, Sasha makes a momentous decision and goes against all the advice she is given.
She decides to go against her parents and friends and protest downtown with Ricardo and his friends, Rashad and Victoria, who all attended East View High School. When Sasha feels like her friends have turned against her Ricardo and his friends are there for her.
But her determination to fight for justice for Mitchell causes a rift in her relationships. An argument with Leah drives a wedge between them and leads Leah to take the opposite viewpoint, taking sides with those who are supporting different viewpoints, while Sasha’s boyfriend is jealous of the time she is spending with Ricardo and breaks off their relationship.
But there’s a bigger problem that neither girl knows about the groups they support. A war has been going on for several months between them and now Sasha and Leah have been sucked into it by their new friends.
Realizing her error, Sasha tries to reach out to Leah, but her friend’s stubbornness prevents her from accepting the olive branch and Sasha has to accept that the friendship is at an end.
Then, one night, a confrontation in a club leads to Rashad being severely beaten by Jacob and Joshua, two of Leah’s group.
Leah witnesses the assault and tries to intervene but is threatened by them and pushed to the ground. Now fearful of repercussions Leah turns to Sasha for help, knowing that her father is a lawyer.
She goes to the police station to tell the truth, which puts her and her family in danger from Jacob and Joshua, so her parents send her to their private lake house in the Ozarks, which nobody knows about. Her friends Leo, Sasha and Cameron accompany her for her safety and to talk over what happened during the summer.
Leah and Sasha become friends again. Sasha has a big going away to college cookout, which she invites her friends she met this summer and her friends from her school. This is when they all say their farewells and discuss the views of protesting and get Sasha’s dad’s thoughts on the matter.
When she is not writing, she is either thinking of another topic or reading. She loves writing, it gives her a chance to escape into another human character and express herself, other than being your typical mother and wife. If you don't want to be on her bad side, then she needs her white chocolate mocha every morning. Some days Folgers breakfast blend coffee is okay.