I picked this book up purely by chance, just after moving house. All my other books were packed in boxes, and I was walking around the supermarket with my mum when I got ‘lost’ in the book section.
I had heard of ‘The Hate U Give’ before, but I had never heard what it was actually about, but after reading the summary, I knew this book would be right up my street.
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.
To be honest, I don’t even know if I will be able to find all the words to describe how much love and appreciation I have for this book, or for the way this book made me feel. I’ll try my best, but I’d recommend you pick this book up and read it yourself; I’m sure you’ll feel the same way.
First, Starr Carter.
Starr Carter is the most wonderful sixteen-year-old girl I have ever had the pleasure to read about. She is resilient, brave, authentic, believable, and empowering, and she is a character every young girl needs in their lives.
Starr witnessed not one, but two of her friends be murdered by the age of sixteen, grew up in a rough neighbourhood, faced the realities of racism, drug crimes, and gang violence, and yet she came out the other side.
Her story and the narrative in which she told it felt like a real person telling me their real story; likely because similar stories to Starr’s have been told frequently. Her story was raw, believable, and heartbreaking but at the same time it was thought-provoking and inspirational.
In our modern day, I don’t think there is a better time to read a book like this.
‘The Hate U Give’ makes a perfect resource to educate young minds on real life problems such as racism, police brutality, and the lack of justice faced in these situations, but also to encourage and empower them to use their voice to change these things for the better.
“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”
Another stand-out thing I loved about this book was the family dynamic. ‘The Hate U Give’ displays a tight-knit family who will go to no ends to protect each other, even if they do bicker and tease each other at times. Their relationship is real and healthy, and you can’t help but love and admire them all.
If you’re expecting a magical Disney-esque fairy tale ending to this book, I wouldn’t hold your hopes too high, but that’s just one more thing I thought was great about ‘The Hate U Give’ – Angie Thomas was not holding back on the realities and unfairness of life, but the conclusion to the novel only made it more believable and impactful.
That’s not to say I wasn’t satisfied with the ending, though, as there was still an element of hope as opposed to defeat.
“Once upon a time there was a hazel-eyed boy with dimples. I called him Khalil. The world called him a thug.
He lived, but not nearly long enough, and for the rest of my life I’ll remember how he died.
Fairy tale? No. But I’m not giving up on a better ending.”
Have you read ‘The Hate U Give’? What did you think?