By Angie Thomas
Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Goodreads Rating: 4.62
Genre: YA Issues Contemporary
Publication Date: February 28th 2017
Format Read: Audiobook
Goodreads Summary: Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
I know 98% of you will have already read this book by the time this review publishes, but I can’t not write it. It was just SO FREAKIN GOOD. Everything about this book was incredible, from the character development to the plot to the message. It hooked me immediately, left me crying, laughing, and rooting for all of the main characters like I never have before. Plus, this book took on a very real issue– police brutality and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. I loved getting an “inside look” at how the division in our society genuinely affects people, and I think Thomas did an incredible job of writing a character that can be relatable to absolutely everyone and still shows the realities of life. (it’s probably because it shows those realities that she’s relatable, actually)
I can’t get over how incredible this book was– it’s 100% in my top 5 for the year, if not above that. So if you haven’t read it already, BUY IT, NOW!
Starr Carter, the MC, is a 16 year old black girl who has to balance going to school in the (rich, white) suburbs and living in her (poor, black) community. Even though I have nearly nothing in common with her, the way that it was written made me relate to her deeply, because I genuinely felt her emotions like they were my own. It’s been a reallyyyyyy long time since any book has made me feel the way this one did.
Also– SHE PLAYS BASKETBALL. This was finally a YA book with an athletic female MC and I lived for it. Every time she mentioned the game it was the same way my friends and I would have, and it made me smile so huge because you could tell that the author has a genuine love of basketball also, and nothing was written to make Starr seem “girly” despite the fact that she played basketball. It was like she could be a girl and play sports, which in the YA world is a little… crazy? LOVE.
Starr’s boyfriend (Chris), and her best friends from her school Hailey and Maya and crucial characters in the book because they show the entitlement of rich white kids, as well as display genuine friendships, and a HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP. Like… how is it that there’s no love triangle, and yet this book is still selling???? (All other authors, take notes) It’s okay to be in a relationship that’s real from the start of a book, people.
Starr’s mom was relatable as hell, and so was her dad and their dynamic. I loved watching it unfold, and I think it was a good look at how couples deal with problems in their marriage in real life. Her brothers, Seven and Taconi (If I spell names wrong, it was an audiobook and I’ve tried Google but I’m struggling here) didn’t play huge parts but the ones they did were essential.
Khalil, Kenya, and Devonte, Starr’s black friends from her neighborhood, play incredible roles, and are so important to showing the truth of what goes on in these neighborhoods, despite the best intentions.
What I loved about this book is that it wasn’t leading up to a big conflict, it was just showing the outcome of a particular, horrifying incident and how it affected the people involved. It had great pacing– I was never bored whatsoever, but Thomas spent the right amount of time diving into depth on the characters, gang life, THUG LIFE, dealing, and the difference between the suburban community and the one Starr calls home.
The book was SO INTERESTING I don’t think I can do it justice. For me personally, I was a tiny bit skeptical on the whole #BlackLivesMatter thing (I totally agree that all of the cases were terribly horribly wrong and real, I just didn’t think the riots were going to help matters) but after reading this book I understand why the riots came to be, and I have so much more support for #BLM than I did before.
Thomas has her characters, and Starr’s narration, sound like the people would genuinely talk. I think that added a lot to the authenticity, and highlighted the difference between Suburban Starr and Black Starr.
I listened to this as an audiobook, and the narrator was incredible, IMO. All the characters had distinct, real voices, and she read in a way that really allowed me to fall into the groove. If you enjoy audiobooks, I would definitely recommend THUG as one.
I CAN’T GET OVER HOW GOOD THIS BOOK WAS. I was afraid that it was overhyped purely because of the subject matter, but it was an INCREDIBLE BOOK, and it took on a huge issue fairly successfully (that comment comes from a white girl, so take it how you will). Plus, the relationships (friends and otherwise) were RAW, REAL, AND WHOLE. I don’t think there’s another way to explain it, besides the fact that it was perfect, avoided all of the tropes of other YA books, and is a must read.
Have you read THUG? What did you think?