Sixteen year old Starr Carter spends her time floating between living in Garden Heights (a poor, black neighborhood), working in her dad’s grocery store, and attending a majority white private school surrounded by her rich friends and boyfriend.
While attending a party in her neighborhood, she runs into her childhood best friend, Khalil. Their re-connection is cut short as unarmed Khalil is shot and killed by a police officer. The shooting makes national news and Khalil is treated more like a criminal than a victim. Meanwhile, the residents of Garden Heights are pissed and want justice. Soon, Starr’s life is turned upside-down as she struggles to do the right thing and seek justice for her best friend while also saving face among her private school peers.
Book: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Release: Feb. 28, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Let me jump right in and say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The Hate U Give was inspired by Black Lives Matter and it highlights the injustices Black people (especially those in low-income areas) face at the hands of a government that is supposed to protect them. This novel is about more than that, though.
This book is about what it’s like living in the ghetto. Garden Heights, the neighborhood Starr and her family live in, is plagued with gun violence, gangs, and drugs. I loved that Angie Thomas decided to discuss why these things occur in poor, inner city areas. I also enjoyed the fact that she showed how no matter what, the residents of Garden Heights had each others back when it really mattered.
It’s about what it’s like to be Black in majority white spaces. When Starr is at her private school and she describes how she is overly conscious of how she comes across to her classmates. She describes how she can’t show anger; she can use AAVE, but not too much; and how she has to constantly talk in an overly friendly tone. Blackness in her school only matters when it allows her peers to feel cool (while they are doing the nae-nae and dabbing). This is all too familiar to Black people who work, attend school, or live in an area were they are the minority.
It’s about forgiveness and second chances. There are a ton of characters in this book who are broken: crackheads, teen moms, gang members, and drug dealers. The Hate U Give showed that regardless of someone’s lifestyle, they are a human being and their life matters.
Finally, it’s about togetherness and doing what’s right even when it’s hard and you’re afraid. When Khalil is shot the neighbors in Garden Heights come together to show their support and love to Khalil’s family.
Even though this is a young adult novel, it tackles some heavy issues from the perspective of a teenage girl. The Hate U Give is a damn good book! It’s 400+ pages, but it’s an easy read packed with so much goodness. I read this a week ago and I’m still thinking about the book!
I would definitely call this a must read.
Rating: 5/5 Stars
note: My copy of this book was an advance reader copy that I received from my job. I work at a bookstore where I have access to tons of ARCs!