Is that enough? Need I say more?
This is the first time in a while I've read a fiction that isn't fantasy or sci fi, and it's really nice to be reminded that those are good too.
It's about a black teenage girl who goes to an expensive private school that's essentially all white. An unarmed black boy gets shot by the police, and she is in the car with him when it happens. It's her childhood best friend. Then there's a lot of aftermath.
I know writing is never perfect, but the writing is basically perfect. It's from her perspective, and it is 100% in the language of a smart teenage girl who is exhausted from leading a double life (trying not to be too 'hood' when she's at her white school and not to be too 'white' when she's at home with her black friends) and finding out how brave she can be.
The only thing about the book that I think will go against it is that it is so clearly of this time - it's all the things that teenagers are really into right now. She talks a lot about her Jordans and Tumblr. I'm sure Jordans will actually be forever, but Tumblr will someday go the way of Myspace and seem laughable. Hopefully it doesn't get dated too quickly.
Also, it's possible that her boyfriend is just a little too perfect.
If you are white, like me, the book is not only a compelling story but it gives you a window into the lived experience of being a black person. The fact that it's written in the first person is key (and obviously intentional) for this - as reader, you are in her shoes, experiencing everything alongside her. Everything from the microagressions and assumptions of her peers to the deeply terrifying experience of dealing with the police to the exhaustion of seeing nothing change.
It's just good. Read it! Read the book! Pass it on to a friend!
I can't wait to see what Angie Thomas writes next.
Sign up for my email newsletter for a weekly digest and BONUS CONTENT!