Summary: Chapter 24
Seven’s car runs out of gas, so the teens leave the car while they look for a gas station. As they approach the street where Khalil was murdered, the teens find a group of protestors chanting, “A hairbrush is not a gun!” Ms. Ofrah stands on a police car, leading the protest. The police call for the protestors to disperse. For a moment, Starr flashes back to Khalil’s murder, but turns that pain into a loud shout. Ms. Ofrah goes over to Starr. She asks about the riots on Magnolia, noticing DeVante’s bruises, but they reassure her he’s OK. They tell Ms. Ofrah the Just Us for Justice office is OK too. She says that even if it wasn’t, it was just a building. Ms. Ofrah asks Starr if Lisa knows where she is. Starr lies, but Ms. Ofrah doesn’t believe her. After Starr insists that she wants to do something, Ms. Ofrah leads her to the front of the protest.
Starr stammers, but the crowd calls for Starr to speak. The police order the protesters to leave. Starr introduces herself and calls One-Fifteen a criminal. She shouts at the police that until there’s proof that the police care about justice for black people, black people will keep protesting. She states that the fact Khalil lived is more important than how he died. The police give the protestors until the count of three to disperse. The crowd chants, “Khalil lived!”
The police throw tear gas at the crowd. Starr picks up a canister and throws it back at them. Tear gas stings Starr and her friends. Goon drives up in a pickup truck and tells them to get in. A cameraman and an older white man sit in the car. The white man begins to talk to the camera, and Starr realizes that he is a national news anchor. He asks Starr whether she really is the witness and if she would like to make a statement. Starr acknowledges that she is, and states that “none of this makes sense.”
Starr watches in horror as her neighborhood descends into chaos. Fortunately, when they reach the Carter family store, it is still intact. Maverick is not there, but Starr and her friends get milk for their eyes to help counteract the effects of the tear gas. The cameraman records everything. Goon leaves with some milk to help others attacked by tear gas, and the reporter and cameraman follow. As he leaves, Goon tells Seven and Starr that Maverick is looking for them. Starr checks her phone and finds multiple messages from Lisa. Seven decides to call from the office phone so that Lisa knows they aren’t lying when they tell her they’re at the store. Suddenly, a Molotov cocktail launches into the store and explodes.
Summary: Chapter 25
Fire spreads through Maverick’s store. The teens run for the back door, but it’s locked, and Goon has the key. They see Mr. Lewis in the street and call out to him. Mr. Lewis calls for help. Maverick runs to the door with his keys. Lisa and Uncle Carlos arrive, relieved that Starr and Seven are safe. Everyone watches in horror as the Carter family store and Mr. Lewis’s barber shop burn.
King drives up and lights a cigarette, making it clear he was behind the arson. Maverick threatens King, but King laughs. Firefighters arrive on scene, and the police attempt to disperse the crowd. Mr. Lewis yells for the police to arrest King because he started the fire. King suggests that Mr. Lewis inhaled too much smoke. Maverick backs up Mr. Lewis, but the police ask if anyone saw King start the fire. Multiple neighbors attest that they saw King. The police order King to get down on the ground.
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