Recommended by Sarah Dearnaley (@sarah_dearnaley)
Form and genre: young adult fiction
Length: 464 pages
Summary: Teenage narrator, Starr Williams, negotiates the diverse gang-dominated culture of her mostly black home neighbourhood and predominantly white elite school. After witnessing the shooting of her best friend, Khalil by a police officer, Starr finds her voice and starts to address racism in society and her own life.
Age recommendation and challenging content: Some drugs, sex, violence and swearing. Recommended for Year 9.
Notable reasons for recommending this book: Contemporary relevance, engages with Black Lives Matter debate. Brings diversity and authentic black voices into the curriculum. Students have really engaged with the text and through wider reading.
Other helpful information: Important to involve SLT involved with the decision to include THUG on the curriculum. Having a department session to formulate a consistent approach to teaching the novel and address staff concerns re language etc. is important. Staff may be initially cautious but our experience is that they love teaching it and students love studying it. This is an important and engaging read. Our experience in a very white school, is that it gave our black students the opportunity to open up and discuss their experiences.