Sixteen year-old Starr Carter wears a mask daily: one in her poor, black neighborhood and one in the rich and predominately white neighborhood where she attends an elite school. But, for unbeknownst to those around her, masks tire and tighten with each passing day. The balance between managing the tightness and fatigue comes to a head after witnessing the shooting death of her friend, Khalil, by the hands of a police officer during a traffic stop.
Once his death makes headline news, she battles assumptions from those ignorant of who Khalil was as a person. Everybody has an opinion – some good, some bad, others clueless. As those opinions come to a head, Starr wonders just how long she’s willing to walk the tightrope others desire her to teeter.
My soul’s on fire.
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