Out of any contemporary book that I was recommended last year The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was always on top of everyone’s list.
Well, flash forward to 2018 and I can finally say that I’ve joined the throngs of readers who have devoured this devastating social commentary on racism and police brutality.
So, did the Hate U Give live up to the recommendations? Keep on reading to find out my thoughts and opinions.
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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Publisher: Blazer + Bray (February 28, 2017)
Print Length: 464 pages
Audiobook Length: 11 hrs and 40 mins
Narrator: Bahni Turpin
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.
This book was a poignant, heart-rending, tearjerker of a book, one that I don’t think I will ever forget.
The Hate U Give follows the story of Starr Carter as she tries to navigate the line between what is right and what is easy following her witnessing the fatal shooting of her friend, Kahlil, at the hands of a police officer.
During the reading of The Hate U Give I could feel Thomas’ passion for the Black Lives Matter movement. She presented the troubling trend of police brutality in such a candid way which I felt was her way of getting people to understand the situation without confusion of a grey area. I also really appreciated that the BLM movement was dealt in a way that wasn’t overly moralizing. Thomas presented prejudice on both sides of the picket fence, ending with the sentiment that the issue will only be solved when it transcends every race, gender, sexuality, and social class to become an issue for human beings as a collective.
While others who have reviewed The Hate U Give have mixed reactions when it comes to the pop culture references sprinkled through out the book, I rather enjoyed them. From Harry Potter to Tupac to horror movies, the references in The Hate U Give each offer criticism to the social commentary taking place between the pages.
However, to me at least, the strongest aspect of this novel was was Thomas’ detail to the Starr’s family dynamic. They were not perfect, nor did they pretend to be. They don’t want to give up in the face of adversity but they understand that moving on isn’t giving up. Each had their troubles, but they also came together in times of strife, as a family should. It was one of the most true to life families I’ve ever read about. Now if only Thomas would write a cookbook based on The Hate U Give because the mac and cheese scene gave me cravings for days.
Overall, I think Thomas says it best about why this type of book needs to continuously be published until the problem of police brutality is a thing of the past, “sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.
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And that is my review for The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Do you have any YA recommendations with a strong message? Leave it as a comment below and help my TBR grow.