I could not put this book down! Angie Thomas is an excellent writer and I hope she continues telling stories. Starr is a girl who juggles her life in two different words. She and her brothers attend a private school which is a 45 minute drive away while she lives in an area known for drug dealers and gang violence called Garden Heights. Starr grew up with Khalil. They were family but she hadn’t seen him in a while. When they met up at a party someone started shooting and Khalil drove her home. On the way home he is pulled over and shot by the police officer for no reason. This is a story about Starr’s journey and about gang culture. How much should she speak out. The kids in her school heard about the shooting but have no idea that she was the other teen in the car. Was Khalil a drug dealer? The answer isn’t a simple one. This is Angie Thomas’s first novel and it is a great one! Her characters are well developed, especially her imposing father, Big Mav who used to deal drugs but became a business owner in the community. It is a story of how a movement begins and how family is more than just your blood relatives. It is a story about hard choices and doing the right thing even if that can get you killed. I loved the way Thomas weaved the story of Tupac throughout the theme. This is a must read for both teens and adults in 2017!
Some ideas for discussing with teens:
Discuss Tupac’s THUG LIFE and how it pertains to society.
Discuss how Starr has to become two versions of herself to navigate her different worlds.
Discuss Starr’s relationship with her wealthy boyfriend.
Discuss family and how Starr’s family is complicated with her brother Seven straddling two families.
Discuss Starr’s relationship with Khalil and the roller coaster of feelings she has about their relationship.
Discuss the choice Khalil had to make.
What do you know about the Black Lives Matter movement?
Discuss the differences between Starr’s father, Maverick and Seven’s stepfather, King.