Updated: Sep 5, 2020
Rating - 9/10
I know I know, I am super duper late to the party for reading this book you guys. When this book came out in 2017, it was on every single bestsellers list and stayed on the Young Adult New York Times best seller list for 50 weeks! I honestly was just never in the mood to read it at all. I’m not sure why. I think I was going through my psychological thriller genre faze back then. Fast forward 3 years later, with everything that has been happening with the George Floyd protests, the racial inequality, and Black Lives Matter movement that has been brought to light in the US and globally over the past few weeks, I felt that I wanted to finally read The Hate U Give. It felt right, and I was ready to delve into this book. I’ve had this book on my shelf for years so I’m finally glad that I was ready to get into it. It did not disappoint!
The Hate U Give follows a young 16 year old girl named Starr Carter who moves in between two worlds - the poor neighborhood where she is from and lives, and the ultra fancy suburban private/prep school which she attends with her two brothers Seven and Sekani. The unsettling balance between the two opposite worlds is completely shattered when Starr witnesses the shooting of her childhood friend Khalil at the hands of a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon after, Khalil’s death makes national headlines with some reports saying Khalil was a drug dealer, some say he’s a thug and a gang-banger. This lights up activists who take it to the streets to protest against this brutal crime, and meanwhile, some cops and local drug dealers try to intimidate Starr and her entire family when they find out she witnessed the murder. Everyone wants to know what exactly took place that fateful night, and the only person who can answer these questions is Starr. Starr struggles with what to do or say as it could put herself and her family in danger, as well as upend her community.
The Hate U Give is about one girl’s struggle for justice and was powered and inspired by the Black Lives Movement.
What a plot. This book was everything. From the very first page you are pulled into Starr’s world and everything she goes through. The story is told from Starr’s point of view through the entire book which meant you got a real sense of everything that was going through her head during all of the intense scenes as well as her everyday life with her eccentric family and vibrant neighborhood. I could not help but completely fall for Starr’s character. She is the most down to earth girl I’ve probably ever read about. She’s crazy intelligent, resilient, strong, and has an amazing personality. This much is very true as you get to see her interact with her incredible family and friends. The amount of adversity and challenges she faces in this book is too much to bear for one person, let alone a 16 year old girl. She goes through what most people never will never go through in one lifetime, and although she’s not always strong, she has a stable support system through her loving mother, her protective father and her two siblings and community. I absolutely adored the family dynamics in this book. Starr’s family is what we all want in life. They’re funny, real, and just love and care about each other so much that you just want to be sitting in their house watching a basketball game with them. Maverick, Starr’s father, was a helluva character who was bursting with personality and charm. I adored him!
I liked how real and legitimate this book felt, it was pretty spot on! The culture clash between the privileged suburban and poor urban neighborhoods was depicted very honestly through Starr’s eyes by Angie Thomas. It was written quite realistically, as if you were right there with all the characters, and felt more like you were reading a script or watching a movie play out. This is a relevant read for all white people, privileged people, and young teens. It’s important to get a sense of what racial inequality is like in America for black people and poor communities. This book is an encouraging read for young teens to educate themselves, and to get out there and use their voice to spread awareness. They are our future and can shape and change these systematic circumstances for future generations.
Angie Thomas titled The Hate U Give after Tupac Shakur’s (2Pac - his stage name) ‘THUG LIFE’ concept - The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody. Tupac Shakur was an american rapper and actor and is considered to be one of the most significant rappers of all time. Little lesson in case you didn't know! Tupac addressed racial injustice and social issues within inner city communities. He was considered a symbol of resistance and activism against inequality. Angie Thomas was inspired by 2Pac’s message and carried this message throughout the entire book through Starr and her family. They Hate U Give in a nutshell, from what Starr told us means that the system is designed against Us - meaning the suffering of black communities through systemic racism, social injustice in poor neighborhoods, lack of opportunities, corporate America, lack of resources and simply racism plain and simple. I loved that Angie Thomas did not shy away from the realities of these issues and I admired her for that.
The Hate U Give was a bold, moving book and it did not hold back at all. It was graphic, it was raw, it was real and it was necessary. Even though the story itself was quite heavy, Angie Thomas created a wonderful balance within the characters of this book, so you felt like you truly liked and could in a small way relate to Starr and her family.
This is a book about Racism, especially within the injustice of policing brutality. It is also a coming-of-age story about love, friendship, family, faith, close communities, activism, and using your voice to be heard and to make a change. All of the characters had depth and the story itself was truly an emotional roller-coaster page turner and was exciting to read. I was expecting it to be overly dramatic, but that wasn’t the case at all. I absolutely loved this book.
This was Angie Thomas’s debut book and took the book world by storm when it reached the New York Times best seller list at number one. It was even goodreads choice of the year for 2017 and won many more awards. Given that this book was released in 2017, it is still very relevant to the social issues we face to this day and will be a continuing and constant reference for many years to come. Racial injustice is very much still alive and we must use our voices to change the system.
I could not recommend this book enough. It was phenomenal. You are able to understand what the Black Lives Movement is about, and to know what it feels like to be a black person and to have that fear in which you know you are automatically judged based on the color of your skin. This is a must read for white people, as well as young teenagers. You will know what privilege is after reading this book.
P.S - They also made a hit movie based on Angie Thomas’s book. I’ve yet to see it but I definitely will check it out after reading this awesome book! I just hope it lives up to the awesomeness of this book.
Some of my favorite quotes from The Hate U Give are:
Page 24 - Starr narrates:
“ When I was twelve, my parents had two talks with me. One was the usual birds and bees...The other talk was what to do if a cop stopped me.”
Page 79 - Starr tells us about the vast difference between her suburban white classmates and her life - her peers all talk about their lavish family vacations on dreamy islands:
“ I suddenly remember how different I am from most of the kids here. Nobody would have to drag me or my brothers to the Bahamas - we’d swim there if we could. For us, a family vacation is staying at a local hotel with a swimming pool for the weekend”
Page 316 - Starr’s father Maverick, is a big Malcom X believer:
“My brothers and I learned to recite the Black Panthers’ Ten Point program the same way other kids learn the Pledge of Allegiance.
‘“We want freedom.”’ I say, ‘“We want the power to determine the destiny of our black and oppressed communities.’”
It was incredibly hard to choose a song for The Hate U Give, I obviously had to pick a track by 2Pac! Seeing that the book title was inspired by him. So many of 2Pac's tracks have to do with racial injustice, poor communities (the hood) & gun violence. It was a hard one. But alas! The perfect theme song to compliment this book for me, would be: 'Trapped' by of course, 2Pac.
Genre: Young Adult | Contemporary Fiction | Urban Fiction
Publication Date: February 17, 2017