I know this book has gotten a lot of hype this year and let me tell you…
It has earned every last ounce of hype, and then some.
Starr Carter lives two lives. There is the Starr who lives in the gang riddled neighborhood of Garden Heights, whose dad is an ex-con who used to run the streets as a gang lord. And there is the Starr who attends the prestigious, private, predominately white prep school across town. Starr tenuously keeps these two worlds separate, until the day when her best friend is shot and killed by police after a routine traffic stop.
First things first, I listened to this one on audiobook read by the immensely talented Bonnie Turpin (she did Yellow Crocus & Mustard Seed), she is definitely on my short list of favorite audiobook readers!
I can’t really adequately put into words how much I enjoyed this book. It was so relevant and timely; a story that is all too real and heartbreaking and sheds a much needed light on the issues of police brutality, implicit bias, and white privilege. Perpetrators aren’t always the blatant racists, but can be found in even the most well meaning of people. It is an insidious problem within our culture, one that people of color face on a daily basis, and one that we (i.e white people) need to be more cognizant of and willing to work within our communities to address.
Starr straddles this thin line between worlds, always keeping them separate and disconnected from one another; watching her break down these internal partitions around the different versions of her life was both liberating and enlightening. The entire book from beginning to end is addicting. I laughed (Harry Potter houses are actually gangs theory) and cried (no spoilers!) and will be recommending this read to everyone I know. It will also most certainly be on my year end wrap up!
10/10 recommend this one!