Release Date: February 28, 2017Published by: Balzer + Bray
Read from: February 12- 16, 2017Stand-aloneSource: Edelweiss (I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a just and honest review. This did nothing to influence my review.)For fans of: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, DEAR, Debut Author, Own Voices, YA
Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl's struggle for justice. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star.
Before I even knew the full synopsis I added this to my TBR. All I had to do was read the bit about being inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement. Add on to that that the author is one of the best people I've had the pleasure to talk Tweet to (I mean come on, she wears J's too!!!) AND the fact that this cover is EVERYTHING, yeah you can safely say I knew I needed this book a long time ago.
"When I was twelvee, my parents had two talks with me. One was the ususal birds and bees. [...] The other was about what to do if a cop stopped me."5%%
Starr is out with her friends when things go bad quickly. Her best friend is shot before her eyes by a cop. Her best friend was unarmed at the time. Now Starr struggles with the fact deciding whether she should speak up or stay silent.
"Good-byes hurt the most when the other person's already gone."15%
The most important thing about this book is its message. It's easily the most important book that I've ever read. This book centered on police brutality in the black community, but it also featured other messages, such as family and their loyalty, friends from two different "worlds," and even interracial relationships. It's such a sobering book that displays life in many black communities.
"Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. They key is to never stop doing right."35%
Even though the most important thing about this book is the message, my favorite part of the entire book was the characters. Every last one of them was so well written and they all seemed so real. I really loved her family. I felt like I was one of them. Her dad reminded me so much of my momma though haha Truly an example of why we need diverse books.
"I wish people like them would stop thinking that people like me need saving."56%
When I was her age, some of the same things she went through I did too. I went to a Catholic school where there was a total of 3 black kids there. (2 of which were sisters.) My mom has a picture of Black Jesus in her house to this day! We stayed on MLK until I went to middle school (if you know anything about your town, find the street MLK and tell me where it leads to...) and moved away to the part of town where I was in another school district. And last but certainly not least, I STILL wear J’s to this day and I definitely love the fact that the Space Jams are mentioned in this story. Because let’s be honest, they are still DOPE. Thomas, thank you for giving Starr, the young me, and so many more African Americans a voice through your words. But even still, there was only one thing in the book that I wasn’t a fan of. And that was the whole “golden Oreos are superior” comment that Starr made lmao I knew it would end up in the book somewhere, but no. (#TeamRegularOreos!!!)
"What's the point of having a voice if you're gonna be silent in the those moments you shouldn't be."57%
I know I loved this book before I even finished it because I went through so many different emotions while reading this. There was a point in time that I cried and then not a whole page later I was laughing and then another page later I was angry. This book touched every emotion I have and I can't wait to see what it does to the rest of the world.
"Brave doesn't mean you're not scared, Starr," she says. "It means you go on even though you're scared."75%
There's so much I want to say about this book, but I'm not sure I have the words. I'm still not sure if I've done this book justice. I loved the characters, and the world, and the way Thomas wrote such a sobering book to help people understand the turmoil of so many of us.
Overall, I give this