Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty. Soon to be a major motion picture from Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions.
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.
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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?
This book. Just… where do I even begin? It’s only been out since 28 February and I’ve already read it twice. No, I did not receive an ARC of it. That alone should tell you the direction this review is going to go, should I somehow manage to find words to describe it.
The characters are so perfectly developed and real. I’ve never been able to honestly say that I cared what happened to the characters from page one but reading The Hate U Give, I did. Immediately, I felt an attachment to all the characters and I was fully invested in their stories. Throughout the story, this was reinforced with little details. Starr’s love of Harry Potter and basketball, Maverick and Lisa’s desire to protect their children no matter what, Uncle Carlos’ struggle between work and family… They’re so very real. I also absolutely love the ownvoices representation in this novel and what it means for millions of people who will read it. (Seriously, millions. This WILL BE a best seller. 100% guaranteed.)
The world of The Hate U Give was incredibly real to me as well. The building of it allowed me to see and feel everything involved with the environments Starr finds herself in. It’s completelt immersive and described so well that I did not even realize I was being given details about the world at all. It’s also incredibly honest about the worlds it takes place in. The hood/ghetto/inner city is described perfectly through comparing the reality of the neighborhood with what the media is willing to show of the neighborhood in order to keep up the public’s negative image of it. This more than any other part of the world struck home for me because I’ve lived in a comparable area and had the media portray only the negative aspects of it.
I have to pause for a moment because Angie Thomas talked about Freeze Cups. That’s not a term I recognized, but then she described it and I realized OMG she’s talking about Honeydrippers. If there isn’t a layer of syrup on top, it’s not real. Walk away. They’re SO good though! If you have the chance to get a real one, do it. 100% serious. Okay back to business…
The storytelling is incredible. Angie Thomas said in her NPR interview that she wanted to make her readers feel a range of emotions and wow did she succeed. I felt such a wide range of emotion from anger to elation to despair to fear and back again that by the end of the story I felt both empowered and emotionally exhausted. I completely understand why Starr chose the course of action she did and it reinforces my own choice in the same direction.
The Hate U Give was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. Because of this, some people have decided not to read it. Unfortunately, those who refuse to read it are people who could truly benefit from its message. They’ll also be missing out on a novel that I can only describe as perfect. I honestly don’t think any book can top it this year.
Overall, I rate The Hate U Give 5 out of 5 bookworms.
Don’t just take my word for it. Order a copy of The Hate U Give and enjoy it for yourself! A few places you can go to get your hands on a copy are:
- Amazon US
- Amazon UK (When Paperback is released on 6 April 2017)
- Books-A-Million (US)
- Barnes and Noble (US)
- Waterstones (UK) (When Paperback is released on 6 April 2017)
- Book Depository
- your local bookstore or library
For more information about Angie Thomas and her work, visit her website.
Have you read The Hate U Give? What did you think of it? Feel free to link your own reviews if you’ve already posted them! (No spoilers in my comments section, please!)