Today I finished The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, the seventh book I’ve read this year. I decided to read fifty-two books in 2018 (you can follow my reading journey over on my Goodreads account) and knew this novel needed to be one of the first books I read. I’ve sat on the sidelines for the last half a year while I’ve watched a lot of hype around this book develop and continue to spread. I used to read YA fiction all the time; this genre often has given me the most poignant reads on my bookshelf. The Hate U Give sits very proudly in this category.
The Hate U Give follows Starr, a black teenager who lives in a poor neighbourhood (Garden Heights) with her loving and hard-working family. Following Starr seeing her best friend killed when she was younger, her parents move her to a prep school; she is one of very few black students. The book begins in the setting of a Garden Heights party; following which her childhood friend, Khalil, drives her home. What happens next guides the whole story; Khalil is shot dead by a police officer, despite being unarmed and causing no threat whatsoever. Khalil is the second friend Starr has seen taken from her in front of her very own eyes. This time she has to battle the question, “What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent?”
Thomas brilliantly tackles the subject of police brutality, the continuous struggle for black people to receive justice in cases like the one in the novel and, also, how the media and general public respond. As someone who has almost always lived in a predominantly white area, The Hate U Give is first and foremost excellent in that it allows readers like me to explore an issue that, ignorantly, hasn’t taken up enough room in head before now. The novel is raw and heartbreaking; it’s also full of heart, humour and human life.
Starr’s narration is so close to her thoughts that I felt as though I was inside of her head throughout The Hate U Give. I felt the conflict she was battling, the fears she felt and her anger at the injustice of it all. I loved seeing her family life through her eyes; Thomas creates a close-knit family that are so easy to fall in love with. Contemporary fiction doesn’t often explore the relationship between the protagonist and their parents which adds an extra layer of charm to the novel. Thomas also explores casual racism that still persists to exist from the mouths of people who ardently claim not to be racist. The Hate U Give challenges the upsettingly familiar argument people cling onto following events similar to Khalil’s: “He was a thug and would have ended up dead anyway.” Maybe my main take away from this novel is how human beings find it so easy to justify brutality.
The Hate U Give is my favourite book of the year so far. Thomas has written a story that will no doubt stay with me the next time BREAKING NEWS precedes a story whereby a black person has been shot dead by the authorities. Thomas has written a story that will teach and inspire young people for years to come. And I completely recommend you pick up this novel to learn a thing or two yourself- I know I certainly took a lot from this story.
I rate The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas as 5/5!
- Buy the book on Amazon HERE!
- Check out other reviews of this book on Goodreads HERE!
- Read my review of the sixth book I’ve read this year HERE!
“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right,” – Angie Thomas.