I bought this book 🙂
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction
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, Khalil’s death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Starr’s best friend at school suggests he may have had it coming. When it becomes clear the police have little interest in investigating the incident, protesters take to the streets and Starr’s neighborhood becomes a war zone. 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 destroy her community. It could also endanger her life.
The Hate U Give is the debut novel of Angie Thomas, which topped the New York Times Best Seller list within two weeks of it’s release. It’s raw, real, and powerful. It 100% deserves the hype it’s been given. If you haven’t yet, go read it. It’s so important and relevant to current events happening in the USA today, and I think everyone needs to read it.
Our protagonist Starr Carter is like any other 16-year-old girl, but she lives two very different lives. The life in her poor neighborhood, and the life at her prep-school. Suddenly her life gets turned upside down when one of her best friend’s gets murdered right beside her.
The first thing that got me was the part where Starr talks about the two talks she received when she was twelve. The birds and the bees talk, and then the how-to-deal-with-cops talk when they stop you.
“Keep your hands visible. Don’t make any sudden moves. Only speak when they speak to you.” -pg 20, Starr’s father to her.
That part was really chilling for me, considering I received a similar talk when I was that age. I’m not black, so I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of racism and abuse people like Starr and her family must receive. Especially when it comes to police brutality.
Another aspect of the novel that really struck was Starr at school. In most YA, girls don’t like like Starr and her friends, who can lay on top of each other and be whiny and silly. That was how my friends and I acted in high school, so I was genuinely surprised to see it in any book. They also talked about social media, like Tumblr, and took it seriously (the way actual teenagers treat it. Somebody unfollowed you, are they still your friend?).
However, while I found all of that interesting, what actually made me do a double take was their slang. I mean, I use slang all the time, but I don’t really know where it originates from. So when Starr dropped this line, it made me really think about language in pop culture.
“Slang makes them cool. Slang makes her ‘hood’.” – Starr, pg 71
Furthermore, while I have always been very aware of police brutality, this novel allowed me to experience it through a new lens; which was extremely humbling. People need to read this book, because it exposes the raw reality of what’s happening out there when we see articles about the Black Lives Matter Movement. When we see headlines about protests in DC, or LA, or any urbanized area. Their voices matter, and we need to listen.
I think Ms. Thomas does a great job handling Starr’s PTSD after the shooting. I have noted in many books where the main character’s just gloss over it. Starr on the other hand cries, mourns, and pledges to never her friend. Her parents are also really great. They support her, and you know, actually act like parents. Many YA authors tend to gloss over parents as well, or kill them off so they aren’t in the way of the protagonist.
Starr and her parents sometimes fight, but you can tell they really love her. I loved how real her family was; they weren’t perfect, but they weren’t used a plot device to make her life a living hell, but they were used to raise her up. I really appreciated that.
All-in-all, THUG explores themes of racism, pain, and family in a well written bundle. It is a roller coaster of emotion, and a hard dose of reality. I cannot applaud Angie Thomas enough for this work of art, and I look forward not only to the THUG movie, but to her future works as well.
Overall rating: 5/5 hearts
Cover: 5 hearts
Plot: 5 hearts
Characters: 5 hearts
Pacing: 5 hearts
Writing: 5 hearts