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.
I’m going to add a couple quotes but I won’t mention names for things that are slightly spoilery, I’ll just put ……. instead.
This review will be a little different to my usual ones as I quite simply am having trouble of what to say about this book, it just amazing and it’s hard to find the right words to put in each of the categories I usually use. So I’m just going to say everything that comes to mind!
Firstly I want to say that no book I have ever read has made me tear up as many times as this one! I marked each time this happened in the book with yellow sticky notes and there is 16 in it. I also used Blue sticky notes for time that there was funny things or references to Harry Potter or Fresh Prince of Bel-Air! I love both Harry Potter and Fresh Prince and the fact that those were the main two things that were referenced multiple times in this book was amazing!
“Don’t call me that. Especially since She Who Must Not Be Named gave me that nick name.”
Damn. She Voldemorted …….”
Also I loved Mav & Lisa, Starr’s parents! They were hilarious sometimes!
Starr and her Mum talking about Tumblr! And this was so my mum, but FarmVille requests when she first got Facebook.
“No, you’re forbidden to get one. No parents allowed. You guys already took over Facebook.”
“You haven’t responded to my friend request yet.”
“I need Candy Crush lives.”
“That’s why I’ll never respond.”
And Starr and her Dad talking about Macbooks
He gets the grapes out the refrigerator. “You still got that old laptop? The one you had before we bought you that expensive-ass fruit one?”
I laugh. “It’s an Apple MacBook, Daddy.”
“It damn sure wasn’t the price of an apple.”
I loved how real this book was, that’s why I can’t really talk about the characters as usually I would say ‘I enjoy them and I like how the author developed them throughout the book’ or some crap like that. But in this book EVERYONE of those characters were real to me, I felt like I was Starr’s best friend and seeing her go through this struggle. I felt like I was the one that saw Khalil die, it was just amazingly written.
I also loved because of how real it felt, it made it so much more obvious that this is something that is actually happening in the real world on a regular basis and how shit this is!
I was curious and read some of the 2 star reviews for this book on Goodreads. So I just have a couple things to say about some reviews I saw. A lot of people said that the writing was really badly done, to me I see this written as if Starr wrote it. Garden Heights Starr that is, I see nothing wrong with that writing, it’s just another part of what makes it feel so real. Some people said it was unrealistic. For one thing unless you are a Black American living in this type of situation, then how the hell do you know if it is realistic or not?! And two Angie Thomas is a Black American, so I think she would have a little more knowledge of the situation.
Another thing that was mentioned was that there was ‘black stereotypes’, is it really a black stereotype if it is a black person using it? In my opinion no.. For example, there is the stereotype that all ‘black’ people liked fried chicken. The subject of fried chicken comes up in this book and that’s not necessarily considered a stereotype if a black person admits they like fried chicken, like Starr says, come on, it’s fried chicken! Who doesn’t love it?! And considering in that scene it was both Starr and Maya (her WHITE friend) that was excited about the fried chicken then it wasn’t a stereotype in my opinion. Like, who doesn’t love fried chicken?!?! And most of the things that I could see that people might consider a stereotype are just basic shit, I don’t see any of them as negatively used stereotypes…
I don’t actually know if this last paragraph made sense, it was so hard trying to describe that and get it to make sense haha.
I think that this book is so damn important right now! This is actually happening and it’s absolute bullshit! I’m Australian, so this doesn’t directly affect me obviously, but I’m for equal rights for EVERYONE and that’s just not right how they are treated. Out of this entire book, even if you don’t want to buy it and read it then at least go into a bookstore or library and read pages 168-171. They perfectly describe what is happening!
I don’t know what else to say! I loved this book so much and I honestly just think that this is a book that everyone needs to go out and read for themselves.