I re-read this because I am teaching this. My first review stands, but let me add something. Like many teachers, I noticed what my students are doing when I walk into a classroom. Usually, it's everyone looking at thier cell phones. But yesterday, I walked in and most of the class was reading this book, and most of the class is ahead of where they need to be. That's something special. Thank you, Angie Thomas.
It’s Obsidian Blue’s fault I read this book now. It is. I was, still am, advocating this for my book club, but it wouldn’t be until the end of the year because we are booked till October.
Yeah so, but after Blue wrote a glowing review, I knew I had to read because if Blue really loves something, it means that I will really love it.
Yeah, so, all those reviews about how this is the book of the year, how this is the book that everyone should read this year, all those reviews are right.
Starr is from the “ghetto” but because her parents want the best for her and her brothers, so she and her brothers attend a fancy prep school about 45-60 minutes away. In her home neighborhood, she is known basically as her father’s daughter who works at his store.
She is two people prep school Starr and neighborhood Starr.
And then what happens to often happens. A friend is shot by a police officer. An unarmed friend is shot by a white police officer. Starr’s worlds collide in ways that are expected and not so much.
Look, I’m white so what Starr experiences is something I never experienced and never will experience. Yes, all teens have that dichotomy, but there is a vast different between the standard two persona teen and two personas for simple survival sake, so my view of reality is different, but this book feels real. I have taught Starr’s parents. My friend teaches Starr’s classmates.
The amount of detail in this engrossing read is great. It is Starr’s growing knowledge about those around here, in all her places – not only her classmates but her family and friends as well. There is the case of Maya, Kenya, and Chris – who quite frankly comes across as a wonderful. Starr’s father is a former gang member, but her uncle is a detective. There is the conflict of a desire or need for a better and/or safer life and to do right by your birth place. There is a good bit about cycles and the need to break them, about being trapped in a place where every choice is bad.
And it is to Thomas’ credit that fairy tale ending isn’t there, at least not wholly (you could argue that a certain facet of a fairy tale ending is present). The ending feels real, Starr’s voice is real, there is not a false step here at all.
The book isn’t anti-police – after all there is Starr’s uncle. Additionally, it isn’t racist against white people. There’s not only Chris, but his parents (not central characters but their part in the end works), there are also several white friends of Starr who are her friends. The question of her boyfriend at the end of the book isn’t so much questioning as teasing (honestly, it happens all the time).