The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Published by Balzer + Bray on February 28, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 444 pages Source: Borrowed from Another Source
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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.
This book is so fucking powerful.
If y’all knew me in person, you’d know that I never swear. This calls for it. THE HATE U GIVE calls for something more – something bigger and louder and angrier. This book *needs* to be taught in high school. Every one – no matter your age, color gender, political stance… any of it… everyone needs to read this book.
Why? Because it’s *important*. THE HATE U GIVE wasn’t written for me, but it did educate me to check my priveldge, to move out of the spotlight, to see justice no matter its color. Angie Thomas tells the story of young Starr Carter, who grew up in the neighborhood. Her father owns a store and her momma’s an RN. She and her brothers go to a private school and are one of the only black kids in their school. In the beginning, she tells us there is Garden Heights Starr, and Williamson Starr. White people? We don’t live like that. So hell if we can relate. I’m not going to say I see myself in Starr, because I have *no idea*. But, like I said, *this book isn’t for me*. Nor should it be. The world does not revolve around white people. It shouldn’t.
Like Starr, I lost a friend when I was a kid. Unlike Starr, I didn’t watch her get popped in a drive by. I was six and she choked to death and I didn’t witness it, and it’s not the same. I’m one of the only white kids I know who lost a friend so young. The only one I know. Minorities in bad neighborhoods don’t have that luxury. Angie Thomas describes the situation so well in the way she breaks it all down. They didn’t have a choice because the world doesn’t give them a choice. To the court, it was self-defense, not murder. Would it have been different if the races were switched? My experience is *not* what someone with a different skin color would have experienced. That’s just the way the world is.
You really could not have asked for a better person to present the world as it is than Angie Thomas. This book doesn’t charge anyone. You see racism in all sorts of shades – from the fried-chicken-joke making Hailey to the well-meaning but ignorant Chris. You see the anger in the black community at the way the system works. You see people on both sides wondering about the interracial dating. I don’t think that anyone can read THE HATE U GIVE and not feel uncomfortable at some point. And that’s good. We *should* feel uncomfortable. Because something is broken in this world. Recognizing the problem in the first step to creating change.
The thing is, and what makes me so angry after reading THE HATE U GIVE, is that the world shouldn’t be like this. If you take away our pictures and put us all online, we don’t treat each other the way we might in real life. Hey followers? I have no idea what race most of y’all are. Because I don’t think it should matter – you put out amazing content, and I love you. No matter your first language, your skin color, your religious background… whatever. We are people. Why doesn’t the world get that?
I like to think that I am breaking through the racially ignorant barriers I was raised in, but I acknowledge that I have a long way to go. Angie Thomas taught me the meaning behind the term “thug life”, and it all makes so much sense. I see the truth in every word, in every sentence she writes. I see myself in Chris, if I had to pick, but there’s a long way to go.
I guess this got a little rambling, but the underlining point is really that all of us, no matter how woke we think we are, need to read THE HATE U GIVE. It’s eye-opening and powerful. Read it, consider it, and have your friends read it.