This book is getting a lot of buzz lately as everyone seems to be loving this book. I have now joined the group of folks who loved this book. This is a very important book as it talks about the Black Lives Matter movement and it is an own voices book. That said, I have no idea about this movement and I am not sure how realistic this book is. I just read it like a fiction novel and my views here are limited to the scope of the book.
This book talks about a black girl Starr who goes to a predominantly white school, has a white boyfriend and a white best friend. Starr sees a black friend getting shot from a white police officer even though he was unarmed. People start calling this boy a thug even though he was not. This book mostly talks about how this girl copes with this tragedy and how this one event changes her life completely. There is little bit of romance in the book but mostly this book has more of family drama. Her dynamics with her parents, half-brother, friend who got killed – these are given more focus than romance. Also the book is pretty intense and even though there are lighter moments, mostly the tone is pretty serious.
I can’t decide between 4 stars and 5 stars for this book so going to give it 4.5 stars. I had no idea about this movement or about the police brutality that African Americans face so it was an informative book. I also got to learn about the black panthers and the ten point program which I didn’t know existed. Also this book made me look at US from a different perspective. So far I have only read books written by whites about whites but this book was different as it gave me an idea about black communities and how they view whites. Even simple things about how they feel whites love their dogs more than their babies – something even we asians feel. Also how different the black communities (like gangbanging) are from white communities was pretty enlightening – I had no idea about them.
The only reason for deducting 0.5 stars is because this is a YA book. Even though I loved this book and every single character in this book was amazing, I wish it were an adult book. I think I am too old for YA books now. I would have enjoyed this book even 4-5 yrs back but now I don’t seem to like YA books mostly because of the school setting with parties/proms and romance. Also everything tied up neatly at the end (people like Kenya changed all of a sudden for no reason) which was little unconvincing for me.
The family in this book was great though – made me think about my over protective parents sometimes. The writing was humorous too in places and I chuckled few times while reading this book while some scenes made me pretty emotional.
There are plenty of references to Harry Potter and Fresh prince of Bel air in this book and since I am a fan of both, I loved every single reference. 🙂 Excellent writing. I loved so many quotes from this book.
Favorite quotes –
“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”
“We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”
“At an early age I learned that people make mistakes, and you have to decide if their mistakes are bigger than your love for them.”
“Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared, Starr. It means you go on even though you’re scared.”
I think everyone should read this book once just to understand what black lives matter movement is all about.