by Angie Thomas, 2017
This book takes you into the world of 16-year-old Starr; I hated the world but fell in love with her and her precious family. They live in the ghetto and Starr witnesses her childhood best friend, Khalil, get shot and killed by a white cop. She has brothers (Seven and Sekani), Dad (Maverick – former gang member and drug dealer), Mom (a nurse and the best mom ever), Uncle Carlos (a cop), and Chris (her rich, white boyfriend). Starr lives in two worlds; the world of her childhood which is the ghetto, drug dealers, gang members, violence, but a beloved family that has risen above all of that; and the rich, mostly white world where she attends high school. When the white cop kills her childhood friend, the two worlds collide. Starr eventually chooses to speak and tell exactly what happened to detectives, the media, and a grand jury. The white cop was not charged with murder. Riots and violence erupt. We understand the rage. Excellent book!
“‘Pac said Thug Life stood for ‘The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody.'”
I raise my eyebrows. “What?”
“Listen! The Hate U–the letter U–Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody. T-H-U-G L-I-F-E. Meaning what society give us as youth, it bites them in the ass when we wild out. Get it?”from page 17 in which Starr is in the car with Khalil
“He was a drug dealer.” It hurts to say that. “And possibly a gang member.”
“Why was he a drug dealer? Why are so many people in our neighborhood drug dealers?”
I remember what Khalil said–he got tired of choosing between lights and food. “They need money,” I say. “And they don’t have a lot of other ways to get it.”
“Right. Lack of Opportunities,” Daddy says. “Corporate America don’t bring jobs to our communities, and they damn sure ain’t quick to hire us. Then, shit, even if you do have a high school diploma, so many of the schools in our neighborhoods don’t prepare us well enough. That’s why when your momma talked about sending you and your brothers to Williamson, I agreed. Our schools don’t get the resources to equip you like Williamson does. It’s easier to find some crack than it is to find a good school around here.
“Now, think ’bout this,” he says. “How did the drugs even get in our neighborhood? This is a multibillion-dollar industry we talking ’bout, baby. That shit is flown into our communities but I don’t know anybody with a private jet. Do you?”
“Exactly. Drugs come from somewhere, and they’re destroying out community,” he says. “You got folks like Brenda, who think they need them to survive, and then you got the Khalils, who think they need to sell them to survive. The Brendas can’t get jobs unless they’re clean, and they can’t pay for rehab unless they got jobs. When the Khalils get arrested for selling drugs, they either spend most of their life in prison, another billion-dollar industry, or they have a hard time getting a real job and probably start selling drugs again. That’s the hate they’re giving us, baby, a system designed against us. That’s Thug Life.”from pages 169-170 in which Daddy is talking with Starr
…A pair of gray high-tops dangle by their laces from the utility line in front of the house, telling everybody who can decipher the code that drugs are sold here.from page 380 in which Starr, her brother, and her boyfriend are parked outside a gang leader’s house
Acknowledgments: “There’s a chance that this will sound like a rapper’s award acceptance speech, so in true rapper fashion I first have to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I’m not worthy of all that you have done for me. Thank you for all the people you placed in my life who made this book possible:…”
This was her first novel. Thank you for bringing a world to life that we would never know. Thank you, Angie Thomas.