Thursday, August 31, 2017

Review: The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give
By Angie Thomas
Published: February 28, 2017

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.

My review:


At the beginning of the book, Starr goes to a party with her friend Kenya (she also happens to be a half sister of Starr's half brother Seven). While she is there, Starr feels like she doesn't belong. She may have gone to school with the other teens long ago and she still lives in the same neighborhood but now she goes to a prep school and has a secret white boyfriend. Her wealthy best friends don't know what her home life is really like as their parents wouldn't allow them to visit her. She is torn between two different lives and has different versions of her persona, not really able to be herself with anyone. It is at this party that Starr reconnects with Khalil. When she was a child, Khalil was one of her best friends but in recent years they'd grown apart. Her other childhood best friend died tragically in a drive-by when Starr was ten.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Starr is broken. She can't stop reliving what happened and she has to face going down to the police station to give a statement. There are all kinds of nasty things being said about Khalil in the media where he is not portrayed as a victim but a criminal. Starr's only break from her pain is at school where she tries to act like everything is just fine but even there she can't escape what happened.

This was a powerful novel inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and many true stories. The title comes from Tupac's T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E. tattoo and what it stood for (The Hate U Give Little Infants F*cks Everybody). Angie Carter has written a book that will make readers think and feel strong emotion and hopefully want to take action in a positive way. 

One of the most impactful moments of the book for me was when Starr talked about how her parents had "the talk" with her. Not the one that everyone gets at puberty but rather what to do when a cop pulls you over. It was heartbreaking that such a conversation needed to take place and it is a common occurrence. In a later scene, Starr witnesses a loved one being forced to lie down on the ground as an act of police intimidation. Not all cops are portrayed in a negative light. Starr's uncle is a police officer and second father to Starr and he has faith in his fellow officers though not all are deserving of it.

Starr goes through so much and I really felt for her. I was glad she had such a loving family and her boyfriend was pretty sweet. I loved how they bonded over their mutual fandom (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air). Unfortunately not all of her friends were there for her and she had to figure out who her true friends were. I admired Starr for standing up for herself and Khalil even though it was so hard to do (and scary). 

The Hate U Give is the best book I've read in 2017 so far. I think it is so relevant to what is going on in America today but it is also a well written story. I highly recommend it. I'm afraid my review doesn't quite do it justice.



Note: I received an ARC for review purposes courtesy of the publisher and Edelweiss

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