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Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty. Soon to be a major motion picture from Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions.
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Let me preface by saying something. The Hate U Give is one of those books my review just won’t do any justice to. I just have too many emotions when it comes to this book and I don’t think I’m talented enough to convey the utter brilliance of this story. So even before I get to my actual review for The Hate U Give, I sincerely urge you to add this to your TBR, because this is a book that EVERYONE should and must read regardless of your reading preferences. It’s important, thought-provoking, and unfortunately way too relevant of a depiction of what it’s like to be Black in America.
I won’t lie, this book is not easy to read given the nature of the content. There were scenes that had my stomach curling and I experienced rage, frustration and helplessness like I’ve never experienced before. But I reckon that is what Angie Thomas was aiming for. Angie Thomas gives you a powerful and very personal look at the Black Lives Matter Movement, and she does not shy away or soften things for readers. It’s brutal and real and I appreciated the brutality despite it hurting my heart. I hear about the outrageous police killings in the US all the time, and still it didn’t hit me just how outraged I should be until this past year or so. And then I read this book. And my outrage heightened. I may be a POC, but this book made me realized just how privileged I am. For that, I am incredibly thankful to this book for opening my eyes to the reality of the ugly side of world that we live in.
Despite the book tackling a heartbreaking situation, The Hate U Give shines because it balances out the bleakness with some very heartwarming scenes through the protagonist, Starr. She was a lovely main character, who was easy to connect with. Angie Thomas brings her to life through the roller coaster of emotions that Starr experiences. Her struggles with her desire to embrace her blackness and her desire not be seen as too black were very thought-provoking. I admired her so much for her bravery and intelligence. She was a strong character through and through and exactly the sort of heroine this book needed. I tried to imagine myself being in her shoes, experiencing the violent deaths of two of her best friends, and I know that I just would not be able to stand up like she did.
Then there were the wonderful relationships that Starr had in her life. I adored her complicated, messy family who loved each other so much that I could feel the strength of their love through the pages of The Hate U Give. They are her support system throughout this difficult phase of her life and gosh, I loved them so much they brought tears to my eyes. We also get to see internalized racism and ignorance through one of Starr’s friend, Hailey, who angered me so much throughout the book, but thinking back, a lot of her subtly racist comments are ones that I have seen personally around me and probably some that I may have made too. She was an equally important character in the book, because she shed light on how people can be ignorant and really offensive without realizing it. Then there was Starr’s white boyfriend, Chris, who was just so sweet in his constant support and willingness to understand her and be better. Their relationship was profound and again, very important to the story.
I’m going to repeat myself now, but guys, please read this book. Read it. Review it. Recommend it. It’s just that important and exactly the kind of book that YA needs right now in this horrid racist political climate.