I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Balzer + Bray on February 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
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Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty. Soon to be a major motion picture from Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions.
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
Guys, I honestly do not know how to review this one. There are no words I can possible say to give this novel the justice it deserves with how powerful, poignant, real and raw it and its message is. This story needed to be written and was so incredibly well done that there isn’t one thing I would change about it.
If you have read the synopsis then you know the story is about a 16 year old girl, Starr, who witnesses the murder of her childhood friend by a police officer. We follow the aftermath of how this tragic murder affects her life and the lives of the community as well as what it takes to find the courage to stand up and make your voice heard against injustice. It isn’t just about that though. It’s about a girl who feels like she has to live her life as two different people. There is the Starr who lives with her family in a neighborhood riddled with violence and gang life that is often knocking right outside her door, literally. And the Starr who goes to a predominantly white private school filled with students of means and privilege. Starr feels like she can’t truly be herself and hides part of who she is because she feels like she has to in order to fit in. And that is another journey we follow her on throughout the novel.
As someone who comes from a background of white privilege, I gained so much perspective from this story and many moments really made me THINK. It also brought out so many emotions in me and different times throughout – feelings of anger, rage, sadness, and pride. Starr was someone you couldn’t help but love and root for (I loved her obsession with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air!). In fact, every single character was well thought out and complex, leading to a plethora of amazing relationships of family, friendship, and love. Starr’s family especially was truly amazing. All the moments of such support through the hard times blended with the cracking of jokes and light moments of just being with each other… that is what family is about.
If you read anything this year make sure it is this book. A well-rounded and honest story that is as thought-provoking and important as this one cannot be missed and should be read by all!