Publication Date: 28 February 2017
Publisher: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen
Genre: Young Adult
At just sixteen-years-old, Starr Carter witnesses the shooting of her friend at the hands of a police officer. Khalil, Starr’s friend, was unarmed, and his death makes national headlines. As Starr lives in a poor neighbourhood and attends a fancy suburban prep school, she hears two different opinions of what people have about him. Some are calling him a thug, while people in his neighbourhood know what he really was. Starr must decide whether she should stay quiet or speak up and give Khalil the justice he deserves.
“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”
Starr is a wonderful character and I loved reading from her perspective. She is very well-developed as a character and the decisions she has to make are tough for a sixteen-year-old to make. Her thought process seemed quite realistic and is how an actual teenager would feel.
Along with Starr, I thought her family and friends were really interesting. The relationship she has with her mother and father is really sweet, which I thought was very enjoyable to read about. Her siblings are also a big part of the novel and are included pretty often, and this is important because a teenager is always around their family. All of the characters were great, except there is one character who is an incredibly ignorant person. It is great how Starr handled the situation and I liked the resolution.
Starr also has a boyfriend, Chris. He is not a massive part of the story, but I liked his change throughout Starr’s journey, and he is a very sweet person. It was interesting that Starr is not overly attached to him, like in many young adult novels, and she sort of has an attitude towards him at times. This is a very refreshing and funny trait about her, as most people are not going to be wanting to talk to their significant other 24/7.
The setting is a great aspect of the story. Starr lives in a poor neighbourhood but goes to a prep school in the wealthier suburbs. This creates a distinction between the two groups of people she interacts with: her school friends, and her family and neighbourhood friends. Because of this, the setting was very vivid in my mind and helped with highlighting the important theme of the novel.
This novel is very diverse and gave good insight into the problems that African Americans face in the United States. It is written in a compelling way that really gives Starr a voice and depicts her as a human. Khalil is also given very human traits instead of showing him as purely a victim. Not only is there the theme of racial discrimination, but there are themes of friendship, romance and family. I like that these themes were integrated because it made Starr seem human and overall made her story more interesting.
I really enjoyed this novel and would recommend to people who like young adult.
- Have you read The Hate U Give?