Date Published: February 28, 2017
Source: Penguin Random House Review Copy
Goodreads Synopsis: 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.
My View: I kept hearing about this book on and on. So much so that as a Secret Santa last year, I gifted this book to my giftee even without having read it! So imagine my pleasure when my request to review this book was approved.
And there I had it. This beautiful book in my very hands. I kept saving it for later because I wasn’t sure I was ready for this awesomeness yet.
And then I began reading. I finished it in 2-3 weekdays. It isn’t a kind of book that will go for a slow read.
The subject matter is sensitive and I did get to know about so many of these incidents when I read through the author’s notes and googled one incident after another, apalled at the racism, the unfairness of it all.
However, as much as I am impressed with the subject matter and agree that a book on this topic needed to be written, I can’t say it lived upto the hype for me. I went in expecting amazing and ended up with an above average book. I think the problem lay in my not being the target audience. I should have let YAs stick to this instead.
One thing that kept getting in the way of my liking this book better was the 16 year old Starr who refused to behave as a 16 year old, more like 10 maybe. I acknowledge that this might have to do with cultural differences but I am not so sure about that. I wish she acted her age and then maybe my head could wrap itself around it.
I hope this book starts up the much needed conversation and helps people be more fair in their behavior and not look at everyone from racism tinted glasses.
If you like lots of drama, this would be right up your alley!
Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi as indicated by her accent. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She can also still rap if needed. She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Meyers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. Her debut novel, The Hate U Give, was acquired by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins in a 13-house auction and will be published in spring 2017. Film rights have been optioned by Fox 2000 with George Tillman attached to direct and Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg set to star.
Thank you, Penguin Random House for the review copy. All views expressed are my own and unbiased.