Read: May 2017
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.
It’s been almost a week since I’ve read this book and I’m still not sure what to say about it! This is a book that everyone has been talking about and for good reason. It’s a book that made me uncomfortable to read, and yet it had so much heart and left me with so much to think about.
First off, I loved Starr and her family. I remember when I read YA books years ago and the parents would barely be involved with anything, and you’d wonder if the kids in the book even had parents, but now they’re not only there, but they’re an integral part to the story. As a parent who’s reading YA, I like this. While there are parts of the story that resonates more with the actual young adults reading, the parts where parents impart wisdom upon their kids and that love comes across, that’s what usually has me beat as a parent.
This is one book that had me realize how lucky I am, and how much I should be paying attention to what’s happening with other people. If I had fears about my kids growing up in this world, I really had no idea what it’s like for other people because the things that happened in this book are things I’ve never experienced. I had my heart in my throat while reading and, like I said, I was uncomfortable at times. This is a book that should be uncomfortable and it’s a book that’s desperately needed at a time like this.
I loved this book. It was so well written, as well as heart wrenching and honest. It was terrifying and, yet, lovely. It was a hard read, but definitely necessary.