Friday, February 17, 2017

Book Review: The Hate U Give

Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Genre: Young Adult | Race Relations | Contemporary
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: February 28, 2017
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl's struggle for justice. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star (goodreads).

Words can't describe my reading experience with The Hate U Give. 
Plot: The Hate U Give takes places over a 3-month period, starting with the night Staff watched a police officer shoot and kill her childhood best friend, Khalil. This novel explored a young girls' struggle to find her place in two worlds and understand the assumptions that people can make about her people. Real talk though, I think I had cried twice by chapter 3. 

The Hate U Give clearly deals with some tough topics and I often found myself crying and relating to Starr's pain. No matter how difficult the conversations were, know that Thomas delivered some laugh-out-loud moments. It's a rare joy to find a book that can have me bursting in tears one moment, then snorting out loud the next. I really enjoyed everything about this book and how it dealt with so many facets. I expected this novel to revolve around police brutality, and while it was a major plot point, there were many other equally important moments as well. I can't bring myself to give this a full five stars simply because it felt like a long read. I don't want to say that The Hate U Give dragged on, but I was surprised by how long it was. 

Characters: I'm under the impression that Starr Carter is a living breathing human being. Often times, a book reads like the author, but The Hate U Give read just like a 16-year old girl. I loved Starr for her uncertainty, her bravery, and her overall sass. Starr's family was also just as endearing and helped me lose myself in this world. One key message to this novel is community and I felt that Thomas did an exceptional job of giving every member of this community clear motivation and background. We were able to see characters evolve, opinions change, and contrasts between two communities. 

Worldbuilding: I managed to read this story in a day and a half because it was easy to lose myself in Angie Thomas' world. Like I said, community was key and I had a clear vision of both Williamson and Garden Heights along with its inhabitants. 

Sidebar: So on the level, this book means the world to me and I am so happy that it was published. As one of 30 black kids in my HS graduating class of 1,000 (that's right, I counted. I'm petty), I related to Starr on so many levels. Most black people have to learn how to exist in two worlds and it's so important to show other black children that they are not alone in feeling lost and misunderstood. 

This book has also inspired me to be more active in my community to help engage the youth and provide resources. In a time where people are willing to treat black victims as superhuman criminals, this book needs to be read by all. 

Short N Sweet: I still haven't been able to stop thinking about The Hate U Give, and I know that it'll help spark some interesting conversations going forward. Thank you, Angie Thomas, for writing this. Thank you, Balzer + Bray, for publishing this. 



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