Summary of Chapters 1 – 3
The novel opens on a spring break celebration in the gang-contested community of Garden Heights. 16-year-old Starr Carter feels out of location at the celebration, which is crowded with dancing teenagers and smells like marijuana. She was pressed to go to the party by Kenya, a lady her age whom she understands because they share an older sibling named Seven: 7’s father is Starr’s dad, and 7’s mother is Kenya’s mother. Starr goes to Williamson Prep, a school forty-five minutes far from Garden Heights occupied by mainly white students; Kenya was able to convince Starr to go to the celebration, despite the fact that Starr’s parents do not allow her to attend celebrations in the area, because Kenya implicated Starr of acting as if she were white. Starr assesses how she feels out of location both at the spring break party and at Williamson Prep, as Kenya prepares to beat up Denasia, a lady at the party she dislikes.
Kenya entrusts two buddies to get beverages, and Starr stands alone, feeling uncomfortable. The uneasy minute passes when Starr sees Khalil, a close childhood pal. Khalil looks great, and is worn fancy clothing and shoes, that makes Starr suspect that he’s been earning money by selling drugs. Khalil updates Starr on his life– his grandma lost her job given that beginning chemotherapy for cancer, and his mother is struggling with a drug practice– and after that the two talk and joke together. Unexpectedly, gunshots ring out from across the space, and partygoers begin spreading.
Khalil gets Starr’s hand and they go to his cars and truck. As soon as inside and driving away from the party, Starr texts Kenya and confirms that she’s safe. Starr and Khalil continue to talk as Khalil drives; when Starr asks Khalil whether he’s selling drugs, Khalil responds that it’s none of her service. The 2 also reminisce about their childhood. They utilized to be buddies with another woman called Natasha, who has actually since passed away. In the middle of their discussion, blue lights flash in the rearview mirror and a siren sounds as a police vehicle pulls Khalil’s vehicle over.
Starr bears in mind that when she was twelve, her moms and dads provided her two talks: one about sex, and one about what to do when engaging with the cops. Starr’s moms and dads informed her not to talk back to the police and to do what they want, so when Khalil “breaks a guideline”– asking the officer why he was pulled over instead of taking out his license, registration, and proof of insurance– Starr begins to get anxious. Frustrated that Khalil is talking back, the policeman makes Khalil get out of the vehicle. He pats Khalil down and cautions him not to move as he strolls back to his patrol car. Khalil opens the driver’s door to ask Starr if she’s alright, and the police officer shoots him 3 times in the back. Starr views with numb scary as blood sprays out of her friend’s body and he collapses. She yells in shock and goes to Khalil’s body, watching it stiffen as he passes away. The law enforcement officer points his gun at her, and she puts her hands up.
Individuals start to gather around Starr while the police search Khalil’s automobile, then put a sheet over his body. Starr is told to being in an ambulance as she awaits her parents to show up. Lastly, her daddy, Maverick, and mother, Lisa, make it to the scene; they sit with Starr and hug her for a long period of time before driving her house. Still in shock, Starr gets upset on the drive home and tosses up out the window. As soon as in the house, her mom assists her remove her bloodstained clothing and take a steaming bath. Finally, Starr drops off to sleep, however problems wake her up over and over once again.
The next day, Starr wakes up and heads to the kitchen, where her moms and dads and 7 are consuming breakfast. Starr resides in her granny’s old home, which her household acquired after her granny moved in with Starr’s Uncle Carlos in the residential areas. 7 lives with his dad King and King’s girlfriend Iesha, as well as Kenya and their sibling Lyric. When Starr gets in the cooking area, 7 and her father are speaking about how King is physically violent to Iesha, Kenya and Lyric. 7 brings up the elephant in the room– Khalil’s death– and the three try to console Starr. They choose not to inform anybody, not even Starr’s more youthful brother Sekani, that Starr existed at the shooting.
To keep Starr hectic, her daddy takes her to the small grocery store that he owns. Starr assists her dad sell groceries to the regulars, including Mr. Lewis, a cantankerous old man who outrages Starr by being flippant about Khalil’s death. Kenya enters the store, and Starr’s daddy offers the ladies cash to purchase lunch at Reuben’s, a deli across the street. Kenya asks Starr why she is being so quiet, however Starr does not tell her that she saw Khalil get shot. After consuming, the 2 girls stroll outside as King, Kenya and Seven’s father, pulls up in a BMW. He tries to act knowledgeable about Starr and provides her money for the lunch, but Starr isn’t interested; she knows that King is involved in gang organisation and violent towards his girlfriend and kids. Starr’s father approaches the BMW to speak to King. King argues that Starr’s daddy owes him a favor, considering that he helped him purchase his grocery store; however Starr’s dad points out that given that he helped keep King out of prison, the two guys are even. He warns King not to touch 7 once again, and King drives away angrily.
Analysis of Chapters 1 -3
Starr’s pain at the party, along with the reality that she doesn’t often hang out with Kenya in social scenarios, indicate the conflict she feels in between imitating “Williamson Starr” and “Garden Heights Starr.” Williamson Preparation is a virtually all-white school, so Starr feels the requirement to alter the way she speaks and acts in order not to be considered “ghetto.” Her race currently makes her stick out in the homogenous environment, so she alters even little elements of her personality to suit at school. Back in her community, however, the really truth that she participates in Williamson Prep makes her an abnormality again. Kenya and others grumble that they never ever see Starr around, and suggest that she thinks she’s too expensive for the community.
The fight that happens at the party exposes the danger of gang existence in Garden Heights. While the violence is senseless, it is also a fact of life for Starr and others who grew up in the neighborhood. Starr, Khalil, and Kenya are upset that the shooting happened, however not amazed; Kenya even tries to begin a battle with a lady as they flee from the celebration. Gangs, and the violence and drug trade that are inextricably consolidated their presence, are undoubtedly a part of the social structure of Garden Heights.
Likewise, Khalil’s death is stunning in its suddenness, scary in its brutality, and tragic in its pointlessness– however it is not completely unanticipated. Starr has actually known from the age of twelve that numerous policemans can be anticipated to treat black individuals differently than white people. The officer in this case entirely satisfies her worst worries. When Khalil doesn’t do what the officer tells him to do, the situation quickly intensifies into devastating consequences. His death is a continuation of the style of worthless death that Starr has currently been exposed to.
Natasha’s death represents the ubiquitousness of violence as an outcome of oppressive social structures and the risk of the gangs in the Garden Heights neighborhood. As a child, Starr needed to witness her best friend killed in a drive-by shooting: a ridiculous killing that takes Natasha as an innocent victim. The experience made Starr mindful early on that death and violence are a regrettable function of the location that she lives in. Starr is no stranger to injustice, and Khalil’s death conforms to the narrative of injustice and tragedy that Starr has actually been required to be a part of.
Finally, the opening chapters of the book present the significance of family to Starr’s life. After witnessing an unspeakably horrific act, Starr is comforted by hugs from her parents. The day after the shooting, they are there to assist her through the rawness of her pain. Starr’s dad, Radical, likewise protects Seven from King’s brutality. Neighborhood and family are main to Starr’s support system, assisting to keep her together in the wake of Khalil’s death and providing a positive counterpoint to the ruthlessness and violence that Starr was drawn into.