I don’t read a lot of contemporary books, but when I do there is usually a reason for it, beyond me just finding the book interesting. If you read a lot of YA, you should know about this book. How can you not? It’s been at the top of the YA New York Times Bestsellers list for months, aside from the brief moment an indie book-that-won’t-be-named cheated its way to the top. It’s been on every list I’ve read this year that include must-read YA titles for 2017. These aren’t the only reasons, however, for reading it.
Starr’s life is turned upside-down when she witnesses a policeman fatally shoot her unarmed black friend. What follows is a reflection of what usually happens whenever a story like this ends up on the news.
I didn’t get the hype at first, and can only assume my lack of interest is a result of my position of privilege. Then Starr was questioned by the police in a scene so palpable, I too felt paralyzed with fear. And then I understood. So much about our world, is so, so wrong.
It’s impossible to read this book without feeling something. Angie Thomas truly does what many authors don’t, and puts you in the shoes of her characters. It may take some time, but at some point while reading, Starr’s thoughts will become your own. It may not be immediate–for me, it wasn’t–but it will happen.
The book also makes a mark by being so realistic. All the news stories come alive in this book. Rioting, unnecessary force from the police, media exploitation. If you’ve seen it on the news, or online, it’s in this book in some way.
This book made it’s mark on 2017 for a reason. If you can look at this book without reading it and not understand it’s impact or popularity, you are someone who needs to be reading it.
So get out there and read.