The Hate U Give (THUG)

Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Genre: Realistic Contemporary
Publication Date: February 28th, 2018
Publisher: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen
Pages: 453
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

TRIGGER WARNING: Dealing head on with racism.  It is handled well but it still could be very upsetting to some. 

“It’s dope to be black until it’s hard to be black.”

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. – Excerpt from Goodreads

This book was incredible. There is no way this won’t make my top ten this year, it wasn’t just reading a book – it was a complete experience.

The Hate U Give is based around the black lives matter movement that is happening in the states currently. The main character, Starr, witnesses her black friend get shot down in front of her by a white police officer for no justifiable reason. Starr has to deal with the aftermath of being a witness to such a crime and everything that comes with it.

This book is a little harder for me to review just because, not only am I white but I’m also from Canada. I’m somewhat aware of what is going on in America with the Black Lives Matter movement but I don’t know enough to say what is 100% accurate. However, I will say that this book felt genuine. These people felt real and not over-the-top characters that we sometimes see. My eyes were opened to the topic and my heart was broken. Even writing this review gets me choked up because it reminds me of the events that take place in this book and how authentic they likely are.

I read this in one sitting, I cried countless and amounts of times and I was so angry through other parts. This isn’t an easy read, this is a read where you learn – where you can’t turn away from the subject. The author is brilliant at her character development. She developed the side characters as much as she did the main protagonist. None of them were one-dimensional, all of them had reasons for the way they acted about particular subjects and situations. Nothing was filler in this book, everything felt realistic to me. I haven’t felt this attached to characters in a long time, I was just rooting for everything to be fair and just in the end.

I will most definitely be supporting the author in her future publications – I can’t believe this is a debut novel. This is another one of those books that needs to be sitting on shelves in every school. Realistic contemporary has really been turning it out lately with the quality of topics and work. Young people could learn a lot from reading books like this one. Actually, we all could.

Five stars all day long. Just. Read. It.

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