A Poignant & Relevant Story Of What It’s Like To Be Black in America: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Posted January 23, 2017 by Nick/ 52 Comments

A Poignant & Relevant Story Of What It’s Like To Be Black in America: The Hate U Give by Angie ThomasThe Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas
Release Date: February 28th 2017
Published by Balzer + Bray
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Format: eARC
Pages: 464
Buy on AmazonBuy on B&N
four-half-stars
Source: ARC received for review purposes

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.


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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.

Are you looking forward to The Hate U Give? What are your some books that you’ve read that are relevant to politics today?
Let me know in the comments below!

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  • I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed this! I am waiting on my ARC and cannot wait to dive into it!

    xx Anisha (https://sprinkledpages.blogspot.com.au/)

    • Awesome! Hope you love it!

  • Wonderful review Nick! I just got this one and I am really wanted to get to it soon. It just seems like a really important book especially right now.

    • Thanks, Grace! I hope you love it as much as I did!

  • kindlemom1

    I love those books that push your limits in one way or another and really have an impact on you. This sounds both hard and wonderful Nick. Great review for this!

    • Yes hard and wonderful is the perfect description!

  • Wow, this book sounds amazing, and intense. I’m so glad you loved it. I don’t know if you know this, but I’m a librarian, and I order YA materials for the city libraries where I live. This book has received so many starred reviews! it’s amazing.

    • I knew that. It has and it deserves all the praise imo!

  • Soon to be a movie too? That is nice

    • Yes! First time I’m excited for a book to movie adaptation!

  • Rummanah Aasi

    This is one of my highly anticipated books of 2017. I’m so glad that you loved it and want everyone else to read it. I know I will go through the whole spectrum of emotions that you experienced too, but I’m ready for it.

    • You will! I just don’t see how anyone can dislike this book!

  • Agree with everything you said Nick! SUCH an amazing book. Definitely a must-read for 2017.

    • Yes! I want everyone to read it!

  • This is without a doubt one of my most anticipated books of the year and it’s one I’d urge everyone to read, especially with how relevant and important the subject matter is. I can see this book having a lasting impact.

    • It’s very important and I think you’ll enjoy this one, Lois!

  • Great review, Nick. It’s on my list. 🙂

    • Thanks, Rowena!

  • Amazing. I’m so so excited to read this book, and seeing that everyone loved it? I can’t wait. Great review.

    • You’ll love it, Marianne!

  • I am so, so, SO excited to read this one. It makes me so happy to see important, relevant issues like police brutality and the BLM movement addressed in YA. Awesome review, Nick!

    • Can’t wait to see what you think of this, Madalyn!

  • Wonderful, thoughtful review Nick! This sounds like a powerful read, one that expresses a full spectrum of emotions. Those books often have the greatest impact on us. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Thank you, Kim! It definitely was one of those books for me.

  • I’ve seen the cover, but I don’t think I’ve read the description before to day. I’ve added it to my TBR list. Wonderful review!

    • I’m glad you added it to your list, Tiffany!

  • Amanda @ Vivalabooks

    This sounds like such a poignant and insightful read. I’m really looking forward to reading this one. Great review!

    • It was very poignant and a book that people can learn from. Thank you!

  • I bet this would be a good book for a high school English class to read. Could probably have some great discussions.

    • I agree! Lots of wonderful discussions.

  • This sounds powerful and wonderfully done. Sounds like a high school required read Nick! Wonderful review.

    • Ooh yes! It totally should be required HS reading!

  • Jazmen

    Exactly. Just read it. That’s about the best we can do here. Glad you read and reviewed it!

    • Yes, I have nothing more to say!

  • Your review is perfect! I read this a few weeks ago and I completely agree with you on all the emotions. I really loved her family dynamics as well. I felt like the pacing was a little slow at times, but other than that I really liked it.

    • The family dynamics took this book to a whole other level for me! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thanks, Lori!

  • Bookworm Brandee

    I’m looking forward to reading this book and sharing it with my kids, Nick. It seems very thoughtful and inciteful as well as powerful. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.

    • I hope you and your kids will enjoy it, Brandee.

  • I love this review, and I can’t wait to start this one. I can tell it’s going to revolutionize YA literature once it gets published. Starr seems like very down-to-earth character who I know I’ll enjoy reading about, and the exploration of internalized racism and prejudice is an important addition. This book will most likely open my eyes to a lot of things though, and I can’t wait for it to.

    – Aila @ One Way Or An Author

    • Yes! I’m excited to see what you think, Aila. I really hope it gets all the love and buzz it so deserves. And you’ll love Starr. I have no doubts about that.

  • I’ve heard nothing but glowing things about The Hate U Give, and by all accounts Angie Thomas is a really great member of the bookish community so I’m excited to read this one. Well, maybe excited isn’t the right word since this is going to be so heart-wrenching, but you know what I mean! Starr sounds like an amazing MC too. I think this is going to be one of the most talked about YA novels of the year.

    • The book is just as amazing as she is! And I agree. I’m glad that it’s getting the buzz that it deserves. I can’t wait to see what you think of it, Danya.

  • The complexities that make up Starr sound like everything I love in characters – not to mention HOW TIMELY. I’m probably gonna cry my way through this, it hits a little too close to home. Will you hold me if I do Nick? <3 I'm taking it my duty to start this book tomorrow!

    • <3 <3
      It's hard for me to stomach so I can't imagine how it must be like for you to read this. And I totally will! Update me as you read/finish read!

  • So I am almost done with this book, and this is how I feel too- I just want to yell READ THIS at everyone, because how will I EVER do it justice? It’s not only SO damn important, but a really freaking amazing book overall. And the feels. My goodness, I have felt EVERY possible feeling during this book I think. In fact, I am now going to go finish it because I do not want to wait another second. AWESOME review, Nick!

    • I’m thrilled you liked it, Shannon. Yeah the writing and the characters were terrific! It so is important and I’m glad that others are excited for it. Looking forward to your review!

  • It’s not like I needed much convincing on this one but your review has definitely reminded me why this book is on my TBR. I may not live in the US so the black lives matter movement isn’t the same here in the UK but the commentary on racism itself is completely relevant and one that everyone needs to read. I especially like the fact it’s not just obvious racism but the subtle racism which stems from culture and and ignorance which is addressed which isn’t as in your face. I know this will be one of those books that is good but so hard to put into words why. That’s something I always struggle with when it comes to books which deal with big issues. how you do you properly explain to people why they need to read something? I think you’ve done a good job.

    • Yeah, I agree. This book may take place in the US but I think anyone who follows the news and feels any kind of anger towards the situations will relate to this story. Thank you, Becky!

  • I am in desperate need of this book, right now. I knew that it would be a great read when I read the synopsis. It’s hard to make someone understand how it is to be black in America. It’s always, “let it go already”. Seriously, that is the dumbest phrase ever to me. I’m glad that you enjoyed this book Nick, and I can’t wait to get my copy. Wonderful review!

    • I hope you manage to snag a copy soon, Lekeisha. I feel for you. I don’t know how you refrain yourself from lashing out when people tell you that. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

  • Glad to hear that despite the tough issues it’s as a heartwarming book and it sounds like we all should definitely read this!

    • It’s an important read.