Synopsis: 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.
Review: I loved this book so much. I gave it 5 stars and I definitely think they should be reading it in schools. The message is so important and the book was both sad and beautiful.
The amount of unarmed/innocent black youth killed by cops is a huge problem in the united states to this day, and this is a story about that. It shows the effect of these deaths on people and the world, from victim blaming to riots and protests in the streets. Most importantly we see the grief and loss that Starr is put through again, because it is not the first time she has seen this happen. She has nightmares and has to deal with the fact she doesn’t feel safe in her own home/ neighborhood.
After Starr makes her statement to the cops as a witness, Khalil is victim blamed and made to look like it was his fault because he was a suspected drug dealer. I could feel Starr’s frustration so much in these parts, and I found myself getting emotional as well.
“I’ve seen it happen over and over again: a black person gets killed just for being black, and all hell breaks loose. I’ve Tweeted RIP hashtags, reblogged pictures on Tumblr, and signed every petition out there. I always said that if I saw it happen to somebody, I would have the loudest voice, making sure the world knew what went down.
Now I am that person, and I’m too afraid to speak.”
She meets an activist at the funeral who gave her the advice she needed; that your voice is the most important weapon you have. And this is the best part of the whole story, the way we see Starr finding her voice and becoming an activist for Khalil and the black lives matter movement.
“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”
The relationship with her friends and family were so important. The family is always there for her and trying to keep her safe and looking out for her. She learns how to cut toxic friends out of her life and stick up for herself. Her character evolves so much by the end and it was cool watching her grow and change into someone so brave and proud to be who she is.
I highly recommend the audio book. You can always hear so much emotion behind the voice and it makes it so much more real and incredibly powerful. All in all I loved the book, and I think anyone can enjoy it and take something really good from it.
Thanks for reading 🙂