Author: Angie Thomas
Genre: YA Contemporary
Page Count: 464
“That’s the problem. We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”
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.
Sometimes, a book will be released that every person in the whole world needs to read. The Hate U Give is one of those books.
It is brutally honest about how our society functions today, and yet it does so in the best possible way. The story follows Starr, who is stuck in between two worlds. She grew up in a poor neighborhood, surrounded by her family. Yet, she goes to an almost all white prep school, where she has to be someone she truly isn’t. Then, everything is turned upside down when one of her childhood best friends is a victim of a police shooting, and she was there to witness it.
This book was phenomenal in every way. It opened my eyes to aspects of white privilege that I’ve never considered before, and it truly highlighted why the Black Lives Matter movement is so vitally important in this time and age. It made me rethink some of my own actions, and I’m so glad it did. Having a story that challenges me and my own beliefs is exactly what I want out of a book like this, and The Hate U Give delivered perfectly.
The story is about Starr recovering from one of the worst moments in her life. It’s about how a young black girl has to constantly fight for her identity. It’s about finding who you actually are. Most importantly, it’s about finding your voice. Being the only witness to Khalil’s death, Starr is under immense pressure to speak up and defend her friend. To some of us, I’m sure that sounds like an easy task. However, when the media is portraying someone you love as a thug, a drug dealer, and overall someone who he isn’t- it’s no easy task to speak up. Watching Starr growing to find her voice is immensely moving and touching, and I loved every moment of it.
“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”
At it’s heart, this book is also about family. I have never read a more fleshed out and dynamic family than the Carters in YA. Not a single character in Starr’s family is there to fill a stereotype, they are all there to support and love her. Reading about Starr’s interactions with her siblings is something that deeply resonated with me, because it’s true that siblings don’t always get along. However, they will always be there to protect and stand up for you when needed.
There honestly isn’t more I can say about this without ruining the experience of reading it yourself. So, I’ll leave you with this. The Hate U Give is a book you need to read. It may elicit some strong emotions, positive or negative, but that’s exactly what this world needs. I hope this book stays prominent in the bookish world for a long time. I hope that children are reading this in school for generations to come. Finally, I hope that it’s a book that opens your eyes to something new.