What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?
Published: February 28, 2017
Publisher: Harper Collins
Length: About 12 hours (eAudio)
Series: N/A – Standalone
Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.
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.
It’s not often that is happens, but this book lives up to absolutely everything you’ve heard about it and more. While it was released in 2017, it’s just as relevant, if not more, now. I was able to listen to the audio on Sribd and I highly suggest to listen as the narrator for this is absolutely phenomenal.
The novel stars Starr Carter, a young woman who is torn between her impoverished hometown and the plush, upper class high school she attends. Starr has two groups of friends; the rich, white friends and those she grew up with in her lower class neighborhood. She feels torn between the two often, but all of that takes on a new meaning when she sees a white police officer shoot her childhood best friend for no real reason. What spirals afterward is the war between two towns, two factions, and two Starr Carters.
What I loved the most about this novel was how realistic it seemed. Unfortunately, we’ve seen the same series of events play out multiple times over the last five plus years in the media and since the inception of our Nation. It’s sad that this piece of fiction has to resonate so realistically with readers today. The author is able to perfectly craft this neighborhood that feels like you’re walking through it every time you pick up the book; you’re introduced to so many local friends, family, business owners, even the rival gangs are fleshed out. Then the narrator is able to add so much personality and heart into each of the characters and situations, it was just an excellent listening experience all around. So immersive.
While I highly enjoyed the plot of this novel I will say I wasn’t really expecting what I got. I went into it thinking it was going to be all about the murder of her friend and the aftermath of that in terms of events, but it was more about Starr finding herself and her courage among the chaos. It felt like the murder almost took a backseat in terms of the progression of the novel. Of course it was the central factor, but the novel more firmly centered around Starr’s evolution which I hadn’t been expecting but loved, nonetheless.
Overall this was a really stunning and poignant debut in a time when it was needed immensely. If you’ve had this on your shelf for a while now is the perfect time to pick up this own voices novel and experience the BLM movement from a different perspective. If you have access to this in audio I highly highly recommend it!
Also, I watched the movie via HBO Max and it wasn’t anywhere near as good as the book so, there’s that.
Other Novels by Angie Thomas