I typed and retyped then typed again for about 10 minutes not having the proper introduction to start this review, but hell, is there even words that can even describe the masterpiece of a book this is?
This is easily one of the most authentic books I’ve ever read. This is exactly what it means to write from the heart and to write with feeling. Angie Thomas has not only written a profound story but actually helped me understand more of the plight that the black community is facing. This book has really opened my eyes and has educated and inspired me. I am pretty sure it has educated and inspired many others too. And for that Thomas you should give yourself a clap on the back. Wow just wow.
Description Summary: An integral book that demands us to face the ugly truths of the systematic racism that exists in the United States.
Book Summary (Skip to Review)
Starr Carter is a high school teen who loves basketball and hates high heels. She loves dancing to Beyonce and stuffing herself with warm pancakes from IHOP.
She also just witnessed her childhood best friend Khalil get murdered. By a cop.
Goodbyes hurt the most when the other person is already gone.
Traumatized and in grief, Starr is conflicted: either she can stay silent and protect herself, watch as yet another tragedy unfolds and no justice is served. Or she can speak up but speaking up is not without costs. And those costs could be deadly for her and her family.
On another level, Starr has always been in conflict. She splits herself between two: Garden Heights Starr (aka “ghetto Starr) and Williamson High Starr (aka “less ghetto Starr”). But Khalil’s death puts these two versions of herself in the forefront and she must decide that the only version of Starr there is, is the one where she can truly feel like herself wholly.
Will her friends at her predominantly white high school accept “the hood” in her? Or will it be too much? Will her father accept the love she has for her boyfriend Chris, a white boy? Or will the fine lines tear their relationship apart?
Locked up in a gang war, manipulated by the media, and striving to thrive, Starr stands out for what’s right even when everything goes wrong, because sometimes you need to keep doing the right thing when everyone else refuses to acknowledge the wrong.
Like many others, I never understood what’s it like to face racial discrimination. I never understood what it’s like to be afraid of the same people who should be protecting you. I never understood what it’s like to fear for your life every single day because of your skin color. I never understood what it’s like to grow up poor and starving. I never understood what it’s like to be treated as an inferior when you’re a citizen in your own country….
The list goes on.
Thomas writes the story inserting and documenting all of these little things we take for granted (by ‘we’ I mean those who are lucky enough to not face the same type of prejudice), then she starts looking at the big picture of it all. The reader then is able to connect all the dots and see the story play out from different POVs but because Thomas gives us readers the bird’s eyes view the reality falls on us dauntly. And the truth is tragic.
But amidst all of that brutality and tragedy, Thomas manages to weave through the theme of hope. Hope is the binding that grips all of these together and hope is what is left at the end of the book; even if there wasn’t a “happy ending”. But hope is enough for now and change will soon come hopefully.
You would know if you wrote a brilliant MC if you are able to transport the reader into their shoes. That is exactly what Thomas did. Starr was brave and beautiful. I was whisked away and have been able to see for the last 400 pages through the eyes of Starr instead of Jawahir. And that is the greatest thing a writer can accomplish; when you take every feeling and inject it into the reader’s heart.
Her boyfriend Chris is just the cutest I mean GOALS (here is yet another standard that I’ve set and yet another fictional crush great…)
Starr’s family dynamic is the BEST. You have all of these harsh circumstances and obstacles that come at their way and yet they still remain lighthearted and positive. When everyone gets together and the banter starts I start cracking up; it seems genuine and real.
I love that we had characters from all walks of life and we got to see so many aspects of their lives, which then (going back to my previous point) it allows you to connect the dots and see the big picture before making assumptions too quickly
Thomas’s writing is gold. I loved how she divided the chapters into “parts”, making you realize how long things get derailed before any kind of action is taken. The key choices in wording helped really differentiate how Starr speaks and acts in the “ghetto” neighborhood and in the “suburbs”. It really showed how much Starr was battling within herself in order to formulate her identity.
Criticism? (More like Wishlist)
Honestly the only thing missing is an epilogue to what happened. I swear I can’t get enough; I need more Starr and Chris, I need to know what happened to Kenya, I need to know how Starr’s mom is doing. Did Starr grow up to be an activist? Ughh I’m having such hangover issues with this book.
Do I recommend? There is no better time to read this, you have to pick it up!
What do you think? Have you ever read the book? watched the movie?