#CBR10Bingo: Fahrenheit 451 (one of the ten most banned or challenged books in 2017)
Starr feels like she’s living two lives, and in a way she is. She goes to a prestigious private school along with her siblings, where they are among the only black students. She has a white boyfriend, who calls her “Fresh Princess”, thinking she’s a bit like Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. She lives in a poor and rough neighbourhood, where drug dealing and gun violence isn’t unusual. Her black friends wonder if she thinks she’s too good for them. Starr’s father spent much of her early childhood in prison, now he runs the local grocery store and admonishes his kids to stay out of trouble.
Starr genuinely tries, but her life is irrevocably changed when she rides home with her old friend Khalil from a party, and they are pulled over by a cop. Khalil is unarmed, but shot by the police officer, right in front of Starr. The cop keeps his gun aimed at the hysterical girl until reinforcements arrive. Starr’s uncle is a cop, but now she has trouble trusting anyone in uniform. She has nightmares and is worried about the attention the incident is getting. The media is portraying Khalil as a thug, drug dealer and a gangbanger. The white cop claims he saw Khalil reaching for something, and that he feared for his life. The local community are protesting, and demanding justice for Khalil. Starr is the only witness. She wants to stay anonymous, but she also wants the cop who shot her friend to face consequences.
I got this book shortly after it came out in 2017, and kept hearing amazing things about it. However, I also knew that it was not going to be an easy read, and while I was pregnant last year, it was difficult or downright impossible for me to read anything that was too challenging, so the book remained on my TBR list. During Banned Books week this year seemed like the perfect time to finally read it, especially with the movie version just around the corner (I know it’s in cinemas now, but it wasn’t yet when I actually read the book).
Full review on my blog.