The Hate U Give- Book Review
Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
This is a book that everyone in the universe should read. Okay, maybe not the universe, but at least the United States, because relevance.
This book is about Starr Carter, and how she is surviving between two worlds- the fancy prep school that she attends, and the poor neighborhood where she lives and works. The author doesn’t pull any punches- she is straight up and honest about what it is like, and that makes this book great.
This book deals with a lot of issues that are happening in the world, and in the United States, today. Police brutality, gang wars, influence of the media, and what it’s like to be a survivor. It discusses the reality of racism in the United States, and how it is still present and active in today’s society.
Starr is in the car when her friend Khalil is pulled over (allegedly for a broken tail light), and then is subsequently shot and killed by the (white) police officer.
She has to deal with the aftermath of losing her friend, and having the media and other police officers turn the blame from the cop who shot him onto Khalil, calling him a drug dealer and gangbanger.
Protests erupt in Garden Heights, her neighborhood, and Starr has to decide whether she should speak up or stay silent- if she speaks up, it could put her and her family’s life at risk, but if she stays silent, she is letting them spread lies about Khalil and his life (and death).
I listened to the audiobook version of this, sometimes while I was working in the mornings, and definitely started tearing up at a few points.
This book takes the #blacklivesmatter movement and gets to the root of what it is really about- the fact that young, unarmed black men and women are being killed by police officers, and no one is doing anything to stop it or change it- and the police officers are getting away with it.
I loved Starr as a character- she was dynamic and relatable, and felt real. Maybe it was the audiobook, but having her voice in my ear really helped the character come alive for me. It was narrated beautifully, and I really felt for her character. I also listened to this book right after reading Hidden Figures, and a lot of the things mentioned in that book related to this book (acting a certain way to avoid falling into stereotypes, etc). She was complex and made you root for her the entire book.
Her family was also amazing. All of the side characters seemed to be fully fleshed out and dimensional, which is hard to do. Her parents and their relationship was great, and I loved that Starr looked up to them and respected them. Her brother Seven was also one of my favorite characters- I loved how loving the relationship between them, and that Seven saw her as his mother even though he had his own mother.
Starrs friends also brought so much to the table- There was her boyfriend Chris, who would make mistakes but learn from them and be understanding instead of hurt, and then on the opposite side there was Hailey, who wasn’t the friend Starr thought she was. I even loved Maya and DeVante, who weren’t major characters but still brought another level to the book.
Literally everyone should read this. It talks about a lot of tough issues, and makes you see through the lenses of someone who has to deal with all of it. Even though it is fiction, it deals with real issues- I really learned a lot about the #blacklivesmatter movement, and if you don’t know much about it or think (as someone literally once said to me) it’s about hating cops (IT’S NOT) please read this. For the good of everyone.
This book should be in classrooms across America, creating discussions and conversations that will hopefully lead to change. Change in opinions, change in politics, and change in our communities.