This is one of this books that sends a social and political message and should be read. Angie Thomas wrote this story in hope that it will give a voice and courage to every child who has ever experienced injustice, racism, and prejudice. Although the story mostly reflects the political climate in the US, after reading it, I believe that all nations and different cultures could learn a very important thing from it: speak up!
Sixteen – years – old Starr lives in two different worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and the posh suburbs where she goes to school. Gang members and drug dealers rule the streets where she lives with her parents and two brothers. In Williamson’s, the high-school she goes to, she has friends and a boyfriend with whom she feels like herself. The balance between these two worlds is not easy, after what happens next.
Murder by Police
Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her unarmed friend, Khalil, by a police officer. This is the second time where she sees her friend died; we learn from Starr that her friend Natasha was also killed by a gun shoot a few years earlier. The death of Khalil become a national headline, others start to make judgements and assumptions that he deserves it, that he was a drug dealer and a danger to a society and the police officer was only defending himself. Starr, as the only witness, knows the truth, but to decide what to do with that knowledge could kill her and put her family in danger.
Battle for Justice
The battle for justice has begun. On one side, there is “defending himself” white policeman and on the other, an unarmed kid who was shot on the assumption of being a dangerous drug dealer. Starr’s neighbourhood wants justice, her friends at Williamson believes the press and do not know that Starr is connected to Khalil in any way. Starr is torn between what’s safe and what’s right. She is ashamed of the place she is coming from, but she also wishes that her neighbourhood would change, be better and safer for her friends and family. Eventually, the memory of Khalil and the truth she learns about him outweighs the safe and she decides to speak up. She is not only the witness in court, but she also goes to national television and says what really happened that night.
The Moment of Truth
Starr mother told her that ‘Sometimes things will go wrong, but the key is to keep doing right’. Starr soon learns that saying the truth might not always bring the desired outcome, but the decision she made has changed her, has made her stronger. She knew that she was heard and it was important because the more people will speak up, some things will change for the better. Eventually.