The Hate U Give is a young adult realistic fiction by Angie Thomas. This book is insanely successful as Thomas’ first novel, as it opened at number one on the New York Times young adult bestselling list.
It tackles the relevant issues of police brutality and racism through the eyes of Starr Carter, a 16-year old high school student, who goes to a high-end, mostly white school outside of the dangerous area that she lives in. Starr witnesses her childhood best friend get shot and killed right in font of her eyes by a policeman. She knows that he was innocent and that the police killed him for no reason other than that they were prejudiced against him. As the story gains national attention, Starr is the differing opinions of the two worlds that she lives in: her mostly-black home and her mostly-white peers at school. She is also faced with the question: Should she stay under the radar and be safe or stand up for her friend and face danger?
This book tackled the issues, in my opinion, beautifully. As someone who does not live in the same situation that Starr lives in, it was eye-opening and important.
The characters that were supposed to likable were likable and the characters that you were supposed to disliked you disliked, so I thought that the characterization was great.
SPOILER: For example, Starr’s racist white friend gets what she got when she refused to have an open mind and change her obviously flawed logic. While Starr’s white boyfriend, Christopher, realized the two world that Starr lived in and supported her when she stood up to the police.
I also liked how the book branched out into other things beyond the core themes, like drugs and gangs, and how they impact the people who live near them.
The presence of family was another important facet of the book, showing that families aren’t just parents and their children, but whole communities and half-siblings and friends.
SPOILER: My favorite part of the book was when Starr took a stand and delivered a quick speech at the protest for her friend that was killed, Khalil. It gave me shivers and showed the impressive character development that Starr went through.
SPOILER: I also liked how the ending (with the police officer who killed Khalil not getting any jail time) was written. If the police officer had been prosecuted, it would have been out of line with the current events going on around in the United States. It also made the reader feel some very strong emotions of outrage towards the justice system, which helped the reader step into the shoes of the protagonist and the real-life people who are faced with the same experiences as her.
The only real problems that I found with this book was that it sometimes used topical terms used in current pop culture either made me cringe a little bit when mentioned in the story, or will with be outdated and not relevant in a couple years time.
Also, I had super high expectations for this book, as I had heard it mentioned on social media as a amazing book and had read a book with a similar content and LOVED it. However, my expectations were not totally met as the book wasn’t the page turner that I had wanted it to be, but it was still great.