Book Review: The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give

Title: The Hate U Give

Author: Angie Thomas

Genre: YA, Fiction

Rating: 5 stars


Summary from Goodreads

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.

“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”

Angie Thomas’s debut novel, recently crowned with two Goodreads Choice Awards, is a gem to have on your bookshelf. The Hate U Give is told from Starr’s perspective. It’s her life, her view on life, her neighbourhood and friends and family you experience while reading this book. Her story, what she goes through and what she does or doesn’t has a great value for every generation on our planet. Past, future and present.

It feels almost impossible to review this book. Everything Thomas wrote is so well explained that I can’t express it better or different. It takes a lot of work and talent to write a story like this. Angie Thomas dealt in this book with not an easy topic, something where many people have different opinions about, but this story feels like the honest truth is laid out for the world to read. That’s why I will recommend this book to everyone and talk about it to every single person. But I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t try to express what I felt after reading this book. So, here it goes.

“Pac said Thug Life stood for ‘The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody’.”

With that quote I want to start. Tupac’s quote is indeed relevant, more than one might think. I think there’s a big difference on who will read this book. But even if people experience this differenty it doesn’t mean that everything can be united in how many things in Starr’s life are wrong, how many things in our real life are wrong. Police violence against black people has recently been all over the news. Especially in the USA which is far away for me. But police violence against minorities is topical everywhere today. It feels painful to read that a black girl should grow up with this:

“When I was twelve, my parents had two talks with me. […] One was the usual birds and bees. […] The other talk was about what to do if a cop stopped me. […] Momma fussed and told Daddy I was too young for that. He argued that I wasn’t too young to get arrested or shot.

“Starr-Starr, you do whatever they tell you to do,” he said. “Keep your hands visible. Don’t make any sudden moves. Only speak when they speak to you.”

Only the fact that a talk with your parents like this exists in our lives is wrong. Police is an institution made to make you feel safe. I guess safe for white people and people who fit in the pitch perfect picture. Not for someone who is black or lives in the ghetto’s as in the book. It’s a shame that it feels like there’s a difference between people with a white or black skin. We are all people in the end.

The Hate U Give is a multi-layered book which handles different subjects all happening in one place around one girl. Apart from Starr there are many other characters who all get a voice in this story. They are hardly side characters when they develop in this story so good. With depth and a story of their own. Authors easily lose track of their other characters and tend to focus on their main character but Angie Thomas did what is lost in many books. She gave every character an equal voice. When I said multi-layered, I mean that there is more than police violence. We see the struggle between black and white in different angles. On the subject of love, friendship, family, between neighbourhoods and (social)media.

“At an early age I learned that people make mistakes, and you have to decide if their mistakes are bigger than your love for them.”

Apart from the story, and heavy subjects this book balances everything with the way Starr’s story is written. Angie Thomas creates smooth dialogues. There is a perfect balance between real, serious moments and the joy of life and the fact that Starr is still a sixteen year old girl.

The Hate U Give is a book that everyone should read. The look at certain events in this book gives a good insight on how people feel and react in certain situations. If you want an interesting read, with great dynamic between characters, development and wonderful dialogues you should run to the store and buy this book.

“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”

Thank you for reading and leave a comment below if you would like to share your thoughts on this interesting read.



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