Well, I think I may have just read one of the best books written. Best DEBUTS written. Angie Thomas is a born master at what she does, and this book is so timely I can’t even. I actually. Can’t. Even. I don’t even know how to write this review, so bear with me as I try to without falling apart and just slamming the keyboard repeatedly. Can you interpret emotions through keyboard slams? No? There might be a problem… ANYWAY
Starr Carter has witnessed two of her best friends die. One was when she was a kid: She and her friend Natasha were playing in a broken fire hydrant when there was a drive-by shooting, and Natasha was shot. She was ten years old, and it was only at the funeral that Starr realized exactly what had happened. Realized what death meant. That event led to her and her brothers being transferred to a private school that they could barely afford, if only that they might not have that happen to them.
The second, more recently, was Khalil.
Khalil, who she’d known since birth. Khalil, her family’s charity case- even though the Carters were poor, Khalil’s mom was on drugs, and their family was even worse off. Khalil, who came back to the car to ask if Starr was ok, after being pulled over by the police for having a broken taillight and ‘speeding’. Khalil, who was shot three times because he turned his back and had a hairbrush sticking out of the car door.
The media is in an uproar, and Starr is at the center of it- but no one knows. She doesn’t tell her friends at the private school she attends, she doesn’t tell her neighbors, even if they guess. She doesn’t even tell her boyfriend. But as chaos erupts and horribly incorrect speculations arise, she might not be able to keep the true story of what happened that night a secret much longer.
OH. MY. WORD. I don’t cry with books, but with this one, I was downright bawling. I have so much love for Starr and so much pride for what she does. It was incredible to see the character development, in not only Starr but in the other characters, as well. I love how her friendship with Maya developed- like, um, when there’s something bigger going on, friends don’t always agree and stick together no matter what. THERE WILL BE DISAGREEMENTS. PEOPLE WILL BE JERKS. Friendships end and Angie Thomas portrays this wonderfully. Too many books don’t do friendship realistically, but this did, and it was lovely. Also, her relationship with Chris? MORE WONDERFUL DYNAMICS!!! THINGS DO NOT STAY STAGNANT! THANK YOU!
Am I using too much caps lock? #sorrynotsorry. It deserves it.
Family dynamics? Wonderful. Check. Seven is the greatest brother. Her Nana killed me every time, and Uncle Carlos makes me wish I could have someone who I could have called to get out of classes with a weak excuse. xDD
And all this hasn’t even covered the fact that IT’S INSPIRED BY #BLACKLIVESMATTER! This is a HUGE MASSIVE THING GUYS. This is the kind of book that changes you and changes the way you think. It is the kind of book that, albeit being labeled as YA, should be read by everyone. It should be up there with The Female Of The Species on the high school required reading lists. It is the most important, most influential, most culturally relevant, most vocal book that I have read in a very long time. Possibly in my life altogether, and you can believe me when I say that I’ve read a lot of books. This is a story that needed to be told, and now needs to be heard.
Now, they’d just better not screw up the movie. People that don’t read as much need to hear this story, too.