And even though some situations and characters were indeed stereotypical and maybe exaggerated, I was completely absorbed in the story and the people in it. And I came to the conclusion that this book provides an important perspective on current events, contemporary racial issues, and violence in our communities. And the author does try to be “fair” by including as supporting characters a black uncle who is a (good) cop and a white boyfriend who tries to understand the perspective of his black sixteen year old girlfriend. The girlfriend, Starr, is the central viewpoint character who sees her best friend, Kahlil, murdered by a white policeman during a routine traffic stop.
“Thomas’ realism also means that the book is very heavy on profanity and on damaging, sometimes dangerous behavior. In Starr’s community, people help and care for each other, often to the point of great and admirable sacrifice; but the community also is full of broken families, men who beat their girlfriends and children, fighting, and promiscuity.”
“None of this means that Angie Thomas is telling this story from a secular perspective. Thomas is a churchgoing Christian, and her faith influences her work. Starr often refers to Jesus as ‘Black Jesus’, a cultural construct she was raised with that nonetheless doesn’t seem to change her understanding of who Jesus is. We see her and her family praying together and attending church, her parents teaching her to ‘keep doing right’ no matter what.”
What she said. It’s worth reading and discussing, maybe with your teen, if you can deal with the language and the violence and the open talk about sex and relationships.