Review: The Hate U Give

the hate u giveBook Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Genres: Teen, Young Adult Fiction
Pub Date: 02/28/17

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.

I picked up this book to read after hearing it mentioned a number of times on the What Should I Read Next podcast with Anne Bogel over the course of the last several months. I have a tendency to not read book jackets and descriptions because I find that I have predisposed misconceptions about a book when I do. Too many times there was a vast disconnect between what I assumed from the book jacket and to the reality of the read. 

With The Hate You Give, I started without remembering any details about the story and of course, not reading the jacket. Needless to say, at the beginning of the book, I was thrown totally off guard when Starr Carter’s childhood friend, Khalil is murdered in front of her by a white cop. 

Although this novel is categorized as young adult, it is so much more. And to be perfectly honest, this selection might sway me into giving young adult some more love in the future. There are sweeping big ticket item themes like racial discrimination and profiling, racism, dysfunctional family situations and the like, which meld together to move all characters, especially Starr, along in the plot. 

There are many times throughout the story, where Starr straddles the worlds she exists in on a daily basis…be it her tony prep school or the school of hard knocks that is her neighborhood. From the beginning, the reader is constantly wondering whether or not there will be any type of silver lining or is Starr’s life and those around her a foregone conclusion. Numerous times Thomas circles us back to the title of the novel and poses the question as to whether or not today’s youth can rise above what society dictates. 

This novel definitely made me think much like an earlier 2017 read Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult. Reading the two books together would make for a great book club discussion.

If you need a book worthy of your time that is enjoyable and makes you think, definitely give this one a try.


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