Publication date : February 28th, 2017
Publisher : Balzer + Bray | Harpercollins
Genre : Young Adult |Contemporary
Page Count: 444
Synopsis : 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. (From Goodreads)
TW: Racism, police brutality, gunshots, physical assault, substance abuse and addiction.
I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts and type up this review for the last week, but everytime I open up the document, stare at the blank page for an hour and then close it, unable to type up anything because none of it feels right or adequate. The Hate U Give honestly feels too important for my words to do it justice. But I shall try because I already delayed reading it by like…a year (Don’t judge me) and I don’t want to delay reviewing it as well. So here goes nothing.
The Hate U Give is so unapologetically black, it breaths, speaks, sleeps black (and more specifically African-American) and I loved that about it. The writing is both strong and beautiful, sprinkled with AAVE all throughout. Angie Thomas’s writing feels like a punch to the gut over and over again (in a good way) it packs so much emotion in every single sentence. And the amazing thing is, it’s not just *one* type of feelings, this book made me feel every emotion on the spectrum because of how real and well rounded it was, it made me angry (mostly), sad, frustrated, happy, laugh (a lot). Speaking of laughing, the humour in this book is some of the best I’ve ever read, the author managed to infuse even the hardest scenes with it, which I REALLY appreciated as someone who uses humour as a coping mechanism because it allowed me a breather amidst all the chaos.
Being black, I know what racism feels like, I know what it sounds like but I don’t live in the US and nothing I’ve ever experienced comes close to the very real instituonalized racism, the police brutality and corrupted justice system black folks (and other/all minorities) have to deal with in the US. And I haven’t been living under a rock, I’ve known about these things that happen to folks on a daily for a while, but knowing about them and reading brief articles is very different from reading a whole story from the perspective of a character living and learning to navigate them written by someone who actually knows what they’re talking about. It’s gutting.
The Hate U Give stars Starr (no pun intended) as she witnesses her unarmed childhood best friend, Khalil, get shot and killed by a cop and the aftermath as she tries to navigate the mental and social repercussions from that as well as normal teenage things as her two worlds – living in a black neighborhood and studying in a white neighborhood- clash. The trauma that comes which such an experience follows Starr wherever she goes, whatever she does, and it changes her. And I loved how Angie explored the way her feelings and interactions changed in such a genuine, unfiltered way. And that’s the thing about this book, it’s so beautifully and horrifically unfiltered. Reading it hurts, but it’s necessary.
I loved Starr’s character so. much. Her growth as she has some impossible choices and hard decisions to make was heartbreaking to read, she’s scared at first and terrified to use her voice (which is understandable) but as the story progresses, she can’t just keep quiet anymore in the face of so much injustice surrounding her and starts speaking up, which was done with a lot of nuance and ups and downs. Her journey into activism wasn’t linear and seeing her best friend’s murder didn’t flip a switch, she grows into it with a lot of doubt and hurddles.
My favourite thing about this book is her family, and how close knitted they all are. They’re probably my favourite literary family now. They can be dysfunctional but at the end of the day they all love each other unconditionally and show it through actions rather than words. They’re there for each other no matter what. She calls her parents her OTP for God’s sake HOW CUTE IS THAT? I can’t really correctly express how good reading about their family made me feel, it was moments of reprieve in the middle of all the hardships, it’s just little moments that warmed my heart ad that you have to read ot really understand.
I also watched the movie a few days after finishing the book and although the core message as well as the main events were the same, a lot of it was different and that only made me love it more. Both book and movie deserve a multitude of awards.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read The Hate U Give? If so, what did you think?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.