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, Khalil’s death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Starr’s best friend at school suggests he may have had it coming. When it becomes clear the police have little interest in investigating the incident, protesters take to the streets and Starr’s neighborhood becomes a war zone. 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 destroy her community. It could also endanger her life.
This book... This book leaves me speechless, I wanna throw this book at everyone's face aimlessly wave my arms around until they read it.
The book is real as fuck. I just.. I seriously can not bring up a solid thought to sum up this book besides IT IS THE COLD HARD TRUTH!
I am not part of the community affected in the book, but as a Latina, I feel similarly oppressed due to my ethnicity. I don't want to get into what affects Latinos because the topic of this book is about the Black Community. So I will talk as an outsider, since for Latinos, it is a different path.
I had a huge rant planned but I have decided against it after a friend of mine said okay, the political talk is good but youre not really talking about the book... So lets tone it down 1000 words or so.
Starr talks about how since she was a child, her parents would have to warn her about the police and how to act if she was ever caught, to keep her nose out of trouble and her head down. A grand portion of readers possibly can't relate to this, but Starr makes sure you feel just as stretched as she does, that the reader feels the fear.
Thomas wrote some amazing characters. Starr becomes a different person from the one she initially was, and you can see this by the friends she surrounded herself with. As the book goes on, she realizes that one of her best friends is honestly not the greatest person on earth. Hailey (I went audiobook route, not sure how its spelled) is the kind of girl that we have all met at some point, maybe we are that person. The kind that claims to be a non racist yet turns a blind eye to oppression and has compassion for the oppressors. Hailey HAS been us when we make stereotypical assumptions about minorities, making them as a joke and sure, people laugh but that is just the thing, Hailey takes and makes it as a joke and when she gets called out for it, she gets offended, just as offended as the receiver of the joke is.
Here we see how much Khalils' murder affects not just those that knew him but his whole community. The officer that shot Khalil starts to excuse his behavior and making up reasons for having shot him and holding Starr at gun point. Starr knows the truth though. And that scared her for the first half of the book. The fact that she didn't know to what lengths the police would go to keep her quiet. Now, the book wasn't an us vs them story. Starr knew and admitted that not all police officers where bad, she herself had an Uncle who was a cop. She was scared and angry at those that admired and the actual officer that shot Khalil.
In the book we also see another thing that personally I have been no stranger to. Protesting just because everyone is. Personally I have never been one to go out and protest and march. I don't know if you guys know what im talking about but a few years ago there was a whole outrage about Kony and the invisible children students were outraged beyond words and did all sorts of protest... For about a month at best. And then no one mentioned it again. People did it just because everyone was doing it, because they could get out of class in the name of doing something good. In the book, most of the students in the school get out of class in order to march for Khalil, which would seem like a good thing, but from the very beginning, it is clear that the students just didn't care, Hailey is the one that shines the light on this, mentioning how grateful she was for the protest, meaning that she could get out of her English class and skip the test she was not ready for.
The book is full of things we have all seen at one point or another, whether its in real life or in the news. The book real, this book doesnt SPEAK the truth, it SCREAMS the truth. A truth that we all need to keep in mind, that we all need to be aware of.
GO BUY IT, BORROW IT, CHECK IT OUT.
Jesus, anything, everything.