Summary: Chapter 9
Maverick stays at the store during the riots. When gunshots interrupt dinner, Lisa orders the children into the den. They sit on the floor below the trajectory of stray bullets. The television shows people protesting Khalil’s death. The police fires tear gas at protestors. In addition to the peaceful protests, riots and looting rack Garden Heights.
News reports display a photo of Khalil and mention that the police spoke with a witness. The police will not arrest One-Fifteen. Starr blames herself for their inaction and the ensuing violence. Reporters emphasize Khalil’s drug dealing and gang connections, claiming there had been a gun in the car. Starr doesn’t think there was a gun, but because Khalil never told her about joining a gang or dealing, she isn’t sure anymore. Nevertheless, she knows Khalil didn’t deserve to die. When Maverick comes home early in the morning, Lisa suggests moving, but Maverick won’t hear of it.
Starr jolts awake from another nightmare when Seven knocks and asks her to play basketball. Starr fears that if people know that she’s the witness, they’ll blame her for the police’s decision, but Seven insists she should come. They call out to their parents as they leave.
Starr and Seven go to Rose Park, ignoring a group of King Lords nearby. Two teenaged members of the Garden Disciples attempt to rob Starr and Seven. Starr knows the King Lords won’t intervene to protect people who aren’t in the gang. Nevertheless, a teenaged King Lord threatens the Garden Disciples, and the Garden Disciples flee. The King Lord introduces himself as DeVante, the boy Kenya and Denasia fought over. Seven asks DeVante why he’s out early on a Saturday. DeVante admits he’s dealing drugs. Starr thinks that King must have damaged Kenya’s romantic choices if she’s attracted to dealers. Seven consoles DeVante about his brother, Dalvin’s, death, presumably from gang violence. DeVante admits that he’s also in Rose Park because of the mournful atmosphere at home.
Maverick drives up and yells at Starr and Seven for leaving without telling him. When they get home, Lisa is furious. Starr insists they called out before leaving, but their parents didn’t hear them. Seven attempts to take the blame because he wanted to help Starr feel normal. Lisa declares that nothing is normal and takes their cell phones as punishment. Lisa tells Starr to get ready to leave for Uncle Carlos’s.
Starr’s car ride with Lisa and Sekani gets off to a tense start. As they pass a peaceful protest, Starr regrets not marching. As if reading Starr’s thoughts, Lisa insists the police’s decision was not her fault. Lisa tells a story about Starr’s birth. She explains that when she got pregnant at 18, Nana told Lisa she wouldn’t be a good parent. Determined to prove Nana wrong, Lisa took great care during the pregnancy. She did everything right, but Starr couldn’t breathe at first. A nurse told Lisa that sometimes things go wrong even when people do everything right. The trick was to continue doing right.
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