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.
Everyone was talking about The Hate U Give before it had even released and it sounded like an important and well-written book. So I bought it as soon as it was released as an e-book.
This book is #ownvoices for black representation.
This book is powerful. It’s really powerful, and it’s gripping. It’s quite a long book but I couldn’t put it down. Seriously, I read this book during my work breaks, and then I got home, and I wanted to do something else, but I ended up reading this until it was time for bed. I needed to know how it ends. That’s how unputdownable it was.
No matter how minor a character in this novel was, they were not just stand-in figures. Their personality could be seen through their actions. Their thoughts influenced what they said. They were nuanced and developed characters. They had their own arcs in the story, arcs that didn’t stop when Starr wasn’t involved. Starr would meet characters after some time, and they had changed in their time. These are the types of non-main characters that I love to read.
There’s a lot of sarcasm and jokes that are used to portray racism and other types of oppression in this novel. However, it’s not all funny writing, there’s a lot of harsh and direct writing that describes the same issues.
There is body-shaming that is not called out in the text.
Read this book! It’s a hard and difficult read, because it doesn’t erase what is happening in the world. It’s a great book for black people to feel validated. It’s also an important book for non-black people to read, so that they can educate themselves on these issues. I know that non-black POC can be anti-black too, so this isn’t just a book that can educate white people but also non-black POC.
I know that my review is late, especially considering that I read it when it first came out. However, I decided that there isn’t any time that is too late to post a review about such an important book.
I enjoyed Angie Thomas’ writing a lot and have heard that she will be publishing a companion novel. I will be reading it for sure.
Trigger warnings: murder, racism, death.
Have you read The Hate U Give?