Starr Carter, a 16 year old teenage black girl witnesses the murder of her best childhood friend Khalil by a white cop, even though Khalil was unarmed. Right before, she goes to a party, where she changes between two “versions” of herself, as she says, the Garden Heights and the Williamson Starr. In Garden Heights, she acts differently, hangs out with different people, and even talks differently then she does when she's at Williamson Prep, her high school. Garden Heights is a black neighborhood, whilst Williamson was full of white, semi-wealthy kids. After the news got out of Khalil, she can’t stop thinking about that night and how she wasn’t getting justice for Khalil by not speaking out against the officer. She slowly begins to recover from that trauma and rebuilds strength to speak out against the racists murder of Khalil, but struggles to find a way tell the story without hurting Khalil’s reputation. Aside from this situation, back at home her father struggles to trust any white person, which is a huge problem since Starr’s boyfriend from Williamson Prep is a white boy named Chris. This also shows the racial divide in this world, which helps send a strong message throughout the book.

I really enjoyed this book and how the story starts off as kind of a normal story, but suddenly takes a sharp turn to an emotionally drawn story. I really like how the author uses descriptions to explain the feelings that Starr has, and really gets you to understand the situation and how the main character feels. I would rate this book a 9/10, and I would rate it as 14+ for high school students, because of the graphic description and language. I think everyone should read this book for the message that the author conveys.

jonahdrake's rating:
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