Sunday, 31 December 2017

The Hate U Give

Author: Angie Thomas
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
Type: Hardcover
Pages: 444
Source: Personal Copy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (Harper Collins)
First published: February 28, 2017
First Line: "I shouldn't have come to this party."

Book Description from GoodReadsSixteen-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.

Rating: 5 stars

My Review: I now understand why The Hate U Give is so popular. It is a story that ticks all the right boxes -- it is powerful, engaging and timely. It is well-written with a main character readers will root for and it doesn't shy away from confronting big issues.

Through her story, Thomas educates her readers about issues such as prejudice, police brutality as well as black culture, racism (both intentional and inadvertent), white privilege and cultural appropriation. The discussions of these issues aren't always comfortable to read (nor should they be) but the story is compelling and sadly, these issues continue to be prevalent today.

The story revolves around Starr Carter, a black teenager who witnesses her friend being gunned down by a white police officer. The effects of this tragedy are shown through Starr's eyes but readers also see how the tragedy affects Starr's community and family as well as the disparate views of her classmates in the mainly white private school she attends. These reactions vary from emotionally charged and shocked to apathetic, ignorant and censured. Through these differing viewpoints, Thomas reveals a social and political commentary of these issues.

The writing is strong, and the characters are diverse and well fleshed out. Starr is a resilient young woman and the reader witnesses how she learns to harness her inner strength and find the power of her own voice. The story addresses many of Starr's relationships - some of which are quite complicated. From her family life, to her friends at home and at school, Starr struggles to figure out where she fits in. Her family is a huge source of her strength and their bonds, humour and fierce devotion to each other show where Starr gets much of her strength and tenacity.
The Hate U Give is a book that needs to be read. It educates its readers within a compelling, raw and eye-opening story filled with characters you'll swear are real. It's a book about family, community, friendship and loyalty as much as it's a book about racism, fear and abuse of power. 

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

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

"Funny. Slave masters thought they were making a difference in black people's lives too. Saving them from their "wild African ways". Same shit, different century. I wish people like them would stop thinking that people like me need saving"

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