Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Audience: Young Adult
Length: 444 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Source: Personal collection
Content Warnings: police brutality, gun violence, domestic violence
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.
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.
Everyone should read this to understand how racism and police brutality affect Black communities. I also think this book does a great job depicting how the anger and helplessness people feel when the system fails to deliver justice can turn peaceful protests into riots.
Starr is such a well rounded and deep character. She navigates multiple versions of herself at school and at home. In some ways she seems like a typical teenage girl, but she experiences multiple traumas that no teenager should have to deal with. She is resilient. She finds her voice and learns to stand up for herself, for her beliefs, and for the people she loves. She finds moments of joy with her friends and her family despite all the hardships.
This book grapples with many issues that affect Black communities, including gangs, drugs, violence, police brutality, incarceration, microagressions, racism, interracial dating, wealth, education, and opportunity. These issues are addressed with complexity and nuance.
You will feel a whole spectrum of emotions while reading this book. It will make you angry and it will make you cry, but it will also make you laugh and love. Above all, this book should make you learn.