Summary: Chapter 8

Starr’s family arrives at Khalil’s funeral. When Starr takes her turn to view the casket, she thinks Khalil’s corpse looks like a mannequin. An usher leads her family to the front row, and Starr feels uncomfortable with the prominent position. She tries to distract herself with the funeral program, but sees a photo of Khalil, Natasha, and herself. She is the only member of their trio left.

Pastor Eldridge declares that despite the tragedy, the funeral is a homegoing celebration. Khalil’s classmates share high school stories about him that Starr never heard, increasing her fear that she was not a true friend. Afterward, April Ofrah, a member of an organization called Just Us for Justice, informs the congregation that the police do not intend to arrest One-Fifteen and that Khalil had been unarmed. Ms. Ofrah invites the crowd to join a peaceful march in protest. Before Pastor Eldridge can conclude the service, the King Lords arrive. They place a gray bandana on Khalil’s casket, insinuating Khalil was a King Lord. Ms. Rosalie throws the bandana at King. Iesha mocks Ms. Rosalie for treating King crudely despite his offer to pay for the funeral. Ms. Rosalie retorts that she doesn’t want his money and calls Iesha a prostitute.

Starr explains the dynamic between King, Maverick, and Iesha. After a fight with Lisa, Maverick hired Iesha as a prostitute with King’s blessing. Seven was conceived during their one-night stand. However, Lisa loves Seven as if he were her biological son.

The mourners whisper about Khalil’s King Lord membership as the service ends. Starr questions whether King lied about Khalil, but the bandana seems like indisputable evidence. Starr despairs that she hadn’t tried to talk Khalil out of joining the gang. Khalil’s aunt tells Starr that she meant a lot to Khalil, and Starr breaks down. She cries because both Natasha and Khalil have left her. Maverick takes Seven and Sekani to march with Just Us for Justice, but Lisa takes Starr home to grieve.

Before Lisa and Starr leave, Ms. Ofrah approaches them to commend Starr on her bravery for speaking with the police. Ms. Ofrah explains that she is also a lawyer and wants to offer her services as Khalil’s case gains national attention. She gives Starr her card and tells her to call when she’s ready. Starr wonders if she will ever be ready.

Analysis: Chapters 7-8

Starr’s recognition of Chris’s whiteness leads her to question her motivations for dating Chris. Because One-Fifteen represents a society that values white lives over black—and Chris is white like One-Fifteen—Starr must ask herself whether dating Chris means complying with this value system. This train of thought raises the question of whether she began dating Chris because she likes him or because she chose his white privilege and the security it represented over dating a black boy, possibly even Khalil himself. Starr considers her choice while looking at Chris, not talking to him, largely because this thought process has nothing to do with Chris as a person and everything with what Chris represents. Before Khalil’s death, the biggest problem in her relationship with Chris was the common teenage problem of determining whether to have sex. Now sex has been eclipsed by complicated questions about what dating a white boy means. Because of the way racism affects her life, Starr cannot date someone without it becoming a larger philosophical question.