By Angie Thomas
This is a critical story about how detrimental violence is to communities, and the tale is heart-wrenching, beautiful, and necessary.
Recommended Age Level: 14+
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.
This is a wildly important story with characters, themes, and messages that stayed with me long after I flipped the last page. Even though this specific story is fictional, it is based on a very real system of violence and oppression, and the telling of these stories is even more important now. Whether or not you can personally connect with Starr's experiences, she is a character that unveils the human in each one of us – a reminder that the right path isn't always straightforward or clear. The other characters, especially Starr's family, all show the wide range of reactions and strategies people use to deal with the aftermath of violence, and each of their stories is unique and important as well. This is a necessary book.
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