Author: Angie Thomas
My Rating: 5
There are so many things I could say about this book, but I feel like none of them will fully summarize the complexity of feelings I have on this topic and how it was portrayed by Angie Thomas in this amazing story. If you want to read a passionate, lively, relatable, intense, and important story about racism and living as a black person in the U.S. today, then read this book.
I thought Starr’s voice was genuine and beautiful, and the fast pace and nearly stream of consciousness style of narration really worked for the story being told. The use of humor and witty dialogue also pulled me in and made me feel like I was really seeing into a teenager’s life. It all just felt so REAL.
In addition, the characters were solidly built and really added to the story. I especially loved the complexity of Starr’s father’s character. Here is a man who has been through a lot, seen a lot, and survived a lot, and it’s clear that he has not always made the “right” decisions, but that just serves to underscore the point that sometimes people, especially black men, don’t have the resources and luxuries to be able to do what is “right” when they are just trying to survive. I definitely appreciated that complexity and felt it helped to keep the book from seeming either trite or preachy.
I loved that Starr had a white boyfriend, but that was the only place where I wonder if the author made it a little too easy/perfect. Race definitely comes up between them and causes conflict, but it almost felt like the conflict was resolved way too easily because Chris almost always said and did exactly the right thing. He exhibited a level of maturity that seemed a bit beyond what most teenage boys would display. But that is one tiny, minor point, and their relationship is really sweet and mainly serves to add to how good the overall story is.
In summary, this is a phenomenal, timely, and highly readable story. Don’t miss it!!