Best for: Anyone looking for a riveting read.
In a nutshell: 16-year-old Starr Carter is in the car when her friend is killed by a police officer.
Line that sticks with me: “Claim folks need to act peaceful, but rolling through here like we in a goddamn war.” (pg 211)
Why I chose it: I’ve been hearing loads of people talk about it.
Review: Holy shit. 444 pages. Started yesterday morning on the walk to work, finished it this morning on the walk to work. I wanted to read it everywhere, and was mildly annoyed that my job got in the way.
This young adult book masterfully covers about a million different topics, and covers them well. What’s it like to be one of the only Black students in a private white high school? What is it like to have rival gangs in your neighborhood? What is it like to have to navigate who you are depending on the company you are around? What is it like for a Black teen to date a white teen? How do you handle it when you see your friend shot and killed in front of you? Do protests work? What purpose do they serve, especially when they can damage those who are already so hurt?
There’s so much to discover in this book, and so many layers. Starr is a well-developed heroine, but so are all of the supporting characters. From her two brothers, to her friends at school to her friends in her neighborhood, her uncle who is also a cop. Everyone has depth and serves their own purpose, not just Starr’s.
I think I was most impressed with two parts: the evolution of Starr’s relationships with her school and neighborhood friends, and the handling of Starr’s sharing the story of that night. I don’t want to give too much away, but Ms. Thomas does a fantastic job of illustrating why people might act in a way that we think we wouldn’t unless faced with that situation.
I loved this book. Loved it.