Hi, Hey, Hello!
I am in a YA bubble right now, which isn’t really all that hard to be honest because there are so many YA books on my list in general that it’s hard to move for them. And well a lot of them are kind of a quick-ish read, which is kind of what I need right now because I remain behind schedule and I am trying to not fall into a reading slump so I need to fuel the fire with some YA because it always treats me right.
This book was no exception.
This is another one of those books that was everywhere when I was in Waterstones because it was nominated and then won an award. That made me partly wary of it because the last book that won the same award last year I didn’t really get on with. This however I loved with all my heart.
It took a bit of getting into, mainly just in terms of settling into a new first person narrative. I had basically lived with Mare for 5 or 6 weeks or something and she was almost all I could remember, falling out of that took a level of adjustment that I just did not expect.
Also Starr is black.
The way the narrative was formed around that voice was different to almost anything that I have read before. I mean I don’t sit with many black first person narrative all that much (which is a whole different issue) and so it took a little getting used to.
Starr talked about how she felt like she was two different people, the one she was in school and the one she was at home, and getting into this narrative was like. I had to switch off the part of me (which is large) that adapts to being ‘white’ and switch on the ‘black’ part that mostly only exists when I am around other black people. That part of my brain is not usually on when I’m on a train, it got there though. While I was reading this book, it got there. I also learned that I am way better at flicking that switch on and off then I thought I was.
Back to the book itself though, it went in real hard, real fast. I mean I knew what it was about, but I kind of foolishly thought that there would be a small lead into it. But nope, on page 27 in it went and in came my disbelief and shock. I just sort of had to sit in that shock for a little bit before I could carry on.
It totally changed the way that I thought I would approach the book. The impact was insane. Which is 100% the point.
This book from that point onwards just became a book of total frustration and masterful writing and storytelling. It was just incredible. It felt so real and harsh and it just dealt in stone cold facts and that made everything so much harder to read. Because it’s not even a far off version of actual life.
It was perfectly balanced as a narrative. It dealt with so many various aspects of racism and police brutality and it dealt with them brilliantly. And at no point did it ever feel like it was being ‘preachy’. The characters were so well written and you felt like you had a real sense of who they all were. You felt along with them all and for the latter part of the book I went a true rollercoaster of emotions that I am so happy I went on.
I cannot recommend this book enough.
It is so well written and hard hitting. Thomas has a brilliant writing style and I loved it so much. It’s also a hella important book. So important. And so well handled.
Yeah, read this book.
Parentheses count: 2. See you tomorrow!
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