Chapters 6–10

In this best-selling novel, sixteen-year-old Starr's life is turned upside down when she witnesses the death of her friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Learn these words from Angie Thomas's powerful and provocative debut.
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Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. vital
    urgently needed; absolutely necessary
    “I understand, but she has to talk to them at some point, Lisa. She’s a vital part of this investigation.”
  2. occur
    come to pass
    “A fight occurred at the party, so we left together in his car.”
  3. comply
    act in accordance with someone's rules, commands, or wishes
    “Did Khalil comply?” Gomez asks.
  4. irate
    feeling or showing extreme anger
    “Did Khalil seem irate during this exchange?”
    “Annoyed, not irate,” I say.
  5. harass
    annoy continually or chronically
    “He felt that the cop was harassing him.”
  6. reckless
    marked by defiant disregard for danger or consequences
    “Khalil wasn’t speeding or driving recklessly. It didn’t seem like he had a reason to pull us over.”
  7. hesitant
    unable to act or decide quickly or firmly
    “The officer forced Khalil out the car.”
    “Forced?" she says.
    “Yes, ma’am. He pulled him out.”
    “Because Khalil was hesitant, right?”
  8. narcotic
    a drug that produces numbness or stupor
    She smiles and says in that same sugary, sympathetic tone, “Now, do you know if Khalil sold narcotics?”
  9. sympathy
    sharing the feelings of others, especially sorrow or anguish
    All the sympathy, the smiles, the understanding. This chick was baiting me.
  10. discredit
    cause to be distrusted or disbelieved
    “Did you consume any alcohol at the party?” she asks.
    I know that move from Law & Order. She’s trying to discredit me. “No. I don’t drink.”
  11. suspect
    believe to be guilty
    On the Monday night news, they finally gave Khalil’s name in the story about the shooting, but with a title added to it—Khalil Harris, a Suspected Drug Dealer.
  12. witness
    someone who sees an event and reports what happened
    They didn’t mention that he was unarmed. They said that an “unidentified witness” had been questioned and that the police were still investigating.
  13. betray
    deliver to an enemy by treachery
    Chris didn’t pull us over, he didn’t shoot Khalil, but am I betraying who I am by dating him?
  14. rage
    an interest followed with exaggerated zeal
    Oh, so you can drag me to play basketball during one of your feminist rages, but you can’t follow my Tumblr because of Emmett Till?
  15. stance
    standing posture
    I get in my defensive stance, eyes on the ball.
  16. solace
    comfort offered to one who is disappointed or miserable
    It’s my place of solace when we lose a game, where I can cry or cuss if I want.
  17. bawl
    cry loudly
    I stare at the ceiling and blink fast to keep from bawling.
  18. sanctuary
    area around the altar of a church for the clergy and choir
    I catch a glimpse of the white casket at the front of the sanctuary, but I can’t make myself try to see more than that.
  19. endure
    persist for a specified period of time
    Weeping may endure for a night, but how many of you know that JOY—!
  20. accountability
    responsibility to someone or for some activity
    We are a small organization here in Garden Heights that advocates for police accountability.
  21. credible
    capable of being believed
    “As we say farewell to Khalil, we find our hearts burdened with the harsh truth of how he lost his life. Just before the start of this service, I was informed that, despite a credible eyewitness account, the police department has no intentions of arresting the officer who murdered this young man.”
  22. route
    an established line of travel or access
    I ask you to join us and Khalil’s family after the service for a peaceful march to the cemetery. Our route happens to pass the police station.
  23. eulogy
    a formal expression of praise for someone who has died
    At the end of the eulogy, he says, “If anybody wishes to view the body, now is the—”
  24. casket
    box in which a corpse is buried or cremated
    We follow the casket with the family. Just about everyone we pass has tears in their eyes. For Khalil. He really is in that casket, and he’s not coming back.
  25. commend
    express a good opinion of
    “Khalil’s grandmother told me that Starr is the one who was with Khalil when this happened. I know she gave a statement to the police, and I want to commend her on her bravery. This is a difficult situation, and that must’ve taken a lot of strength.”
  26. privacy
    the condition of being concealed or hidden
    “We all want the same thing,” she says. “Justice for Khalil.”
    “Excuse me, Ms. Ofrah,” Momma says, “but as much as I want that, I want my daughter to have some peace. And privacy.”
  27. medium
    a means or instrumentality for communicating information
    The case is about to gain national media attention, but I don’t want it to be at her expense.
  28. advocate
    a person who pleads for a person, cause, or idea
    Besides being an advocate, I’m also an attorney.
  29. representation
    standing in for someone and speaking on their behalf
    Just Us for Justice isn’t providing the Harris family with legal representation—someone else is doing that. We’re simply rallying behind them. However, I’m available and willing to represent Starr on my own.
  30. flinch
    draw back, as with fear or pain
    Sekani flinches. I’m used to gunshots, but these are louder, faster.
  31. precinct
    an administrative district of a city or town
    The news shows three patrol cars that have been set ablaze at the police precinct, about a five-minute drive away from us.
  32. loot
    steal goods; take as spoils
    A gas station near the freeway gets looted, and the owner, this Indian man, staggers around bloody, saying he didn’t have anything to do with Khalil’s death.
  33. tense
    become nervous or uneasy
    Daddy calls and says the store is all right. It doesn’t stop me from tensing up every time the news mentions a business that’s been attacked.
  34. riot
    a state of disorder involving group violence
    All of this is my fault. The riots, gunshots, tear gas, all of it, are ultimately my fault. I forgot to tell the cops that Khalil got out with his hands up. I didn’t mention that the officer pointed his gun at me. I didn’t say something right, and now that cop’s not getting arrested.
  35. confirm
    establish or strengthen as with new evidence or facts
    “There are multiple reports that a gun was found in the car,” the anchor claims. “There is also suspicion that the victim was a drug dealer as well as a gang member. Officials have not confirmed if any of this is true.”
  36. protest
    express opposition through action or words
    They’re holding signs and posters of Khalil’s face and are chanting, “Justice for Khalil!”
    I should be out there with them, but I can’t join that march, knowing I’m one of the reasons they’re protesting.
  37. oppressed
    burdened psychologically or mentally
    The Panthers educated and empowered the people. That tactic of empowering the oppressed goes even further back than the Panthers though.
  38. equip
    provide with abilities or understanding
    Our schools don’t get the resources to equip you like Williamson does. It’s easier to find some crack than it is to find a good school around here.
  39. felon
    someone who has been legally convicted of a crime
    Daddy disappears into his office and returns with his Glock. He’s not supposed to carry it since he’s a felon, but he says that technically he doesn’t carry it. He keeps it in his office.
  40. forbid
    command against
    And God forbid Sekani wants to play outside. I gotta drive to my brother’s house, where I don’t have to worry about him getting shot like his sister’s best friend did.
Created on June 24, 2017 (updated April 8, 2019)

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