The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Contemporary | Young Adult
Published by Balzer + Bray
Released February 28, 2017
Goodreads | Amazon
Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give deserves all the hype surrounding it. It’s a well-written, thoughtful, important book that deals with difficult topics, and I’m certain this book is going to be read in schools for years to come.
The book has been sitting on my shelf for way too long, but I’m glad I finally picked it up. I occasionally listened to the audiobook while reading it, and the audiobook is great. It’s narrated by Bahni Turpin, and she does a spectacular job of putting emotion into the story and giving all the characters distinct voices and tones.
The Hate U Give is a book that was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. We follow Starr Carter, who witnesses her childhood friend, Khalil, get shot at the hands of the police. Khalil didn’t have any weapons and wasn’t threatening the police officer, and was shot in the back right in front of Starr.
As the event’s only witness, Starr has to decide if she wants to speak up or stay silent and also has to deal with the police, gang violence, and more. It’s certainly a difficult novel to read, but one that I think everyone should read.
Starr also has to deal with being two different versions of herself: the Starr in Garden Heights, and the Starr that goes to a mostly white private school. In the process, we meet other topics head-on, such as interracial dating, privilege, and racism.
More than anything, this book is about placing value on a human life. After Khalil’s shooting, the media paints him in a harsh light, as a drug-dealing gangbanger who may have deserved being shot. One of Starr’s white friends openly states that she doesn’t understand why people care so much about a drug dealer being shot. However, this book shows us the reality behind the media: that Khalil, and all of his real-life counterparts, are real people, who didn’t deserve to die.
This was Angie Thomas’ first book, but it has the polish of a seasoned writer. It was well-paced, the characters were three-dimension and felt real, Starr was absolutely believable as a teenage girl, and it was just all-around written perfectly.
I want everyone to read this book. It’s a book that America needed, and I’m glad Angie Thomas wrote it.
As a side note, Angie Thomas’ second book, On the Come Up, is already out if you’re interested in reading it.