The Hate U Give is a young adult debut novel by Angie Thomas.
I was apprehensive of this book before I decided to buy it but once I started reading the sample, I could not put it down. Angie Thomas expresses one of the several ways how the black community is seen and treated in this world through the eyes of a sixteen-year-old girl.
The book is narrated by Starr Carter, a 16-year-old black girl from a poor neighborhood who attends an elite private school in a predominantly white, affluent part of the city. She lives with her parents, brother Sekani and half-brother Seven in a poor, black neighborhood, Garden Heights, where gang membership, drug dealing and shootings are rife. But every day, 16-year-old Starr makes a 45-minute journey to a private school in a predominantly white, affluent suburb where she has almost no black friends. The issue is not that she can’t fit in there – she has plenty of mostly white friends and a steady relationship with her white boyfriend – but rather that she’s acutely aware that she’s constantly modifying her behavior in order to do so.
Starr becomes entangled in a national news story after she witnesses a white police officer shoot and kill her childhood friend, Khalil. She speaks up about the shooting in increasingly public ways, and social tensions culminate in a riot after a grand jury decides not to indict the police officer for the shooting.
The story poignant, riveting and so so beautifully written. The progression of the story was great, and the character dynamics was even better. One can’t NOT fall in love with the characters, especially her family and her boyfriend. This is a powerfully honest and important book, seemingly inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. It has Starr’s strong and distinctive voice – bright, perceptive and funny – at its heart and a vivid cast of characters who feel real and credible from their very first appearances on the page.
I also love the family dynamic in this book. I think it honestly might be the most healthy, realistic, close-knit family I’ve ever read in a YA. The siblings may tease each other, but they protect each other fiercely. The parents may not always get along, but they are head over heels in love. They always attempt to do what is best for their children, even if it may not be their own personal preference. It was so nice to have just a scene of a family sitting down to watch sports together, throwing a pool party, always working together. It is something I truly valued from this read.
I absolutely adored this book. I truly don’t feel like it has a single flaw. Every topic addressed was approach so wonderfully and did not hold back. If you’re looking for a diverse read that stands out amongst most YA, The Hate U Give is the book for you.