Let me start this review with this: I’m a straight, white, middle-class woman. I am privileged in many ways, including white privilege. I am also a growing activist. I’m new to activism, to what Angie Thomas writes as “using my voice as my weapon.” But I’m committed. Because if not me, who? And, if not now, when?
Now, onto the book. This one has been on my to-read list for a while. Honestly, I was hesitant. I wanted to read it, and yet, I was worried that the reality wouldn’t live up to the hype. And it didn’t live up to the hype–it surpassed it.
The narrator of the story is Starr–a black girl who lives in a poor neighborhood and attends school in a rich, white one. Her parents work hard to ensure Starr and her two brothers can attend a school that will hopefully them a better education and open doors to a better future. As the book begins, Starr is attending a party in her neighborhood with her friend, Kenya. At the party, Starr meets up with an old friend, Khalil. When a fight breaks out at the party, Starr leaves with Khalil. On the way to Starr’s house, a police officer pulls Khalil over. What starts out as a traffic stop for a broken tail light turns into three bullets in Khalil’s back and the end of life as Starr knew it.
I have so much respect for this book. Complex characters placed in fictional yet realistic circumstances that are timely and relevant. The author writes in a way that pulls you into the scenes and, honestly, made me think about how I see the world and the racial tensions in it. In my opinion, it should be required reading for all.