Title : The Hate U Give
Author : Angie Thomas
Genre : YA Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
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, Khalil’s death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Starr’s best friend at school suggests he may have had it coming. When it becomes clear the police have little interest in investigating the incident, protesters take to the streets and Starr’s neighborhood becomes a war zone. 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 destroy her community. It could also endanger her life.
There’s a very low chance that you might not have heard about this book yet, (and in case you haven’t), The Hate U Give is a novel which intricately explores the struggles which come with being black and living in a white community, and the way the justice system reacts differently to people based on their skin. It’s rich with messages, quick to ignite thought, and a marvellous learning process in itself.
The story follows Starr, who watches her best friend get shot by a cop, and because of witnessing this horrific incident, she gets thrown into a number of repurcussions of how the incident is dealt with. The storyline is fantastic; it’s simple, smart and keeps you on the edge of your seat (especially the latter part).
The best part about the book is how it makes you think, and learn. I had literally no idea that some of the things which happened in the book are actually happening to people in this world, and what a shocking eye-opener. It makes you want to fight for the right, but also think about why things are not right, in the first place itself.
The most important issue the book deals with is, even if a person is not that good of a person, does he still deserve to be killed? This reasoning is something Starr has to deal with throughout the book, and the message portrayed in the book is so important. The reason why such incidents need to be treated with justice is shown in this book, as how frustration and injustice can have life-altering impact on so many people.
The complexity of Starr’s character is brought out amazingly well, as she tries to be more than her skin tone, but yet feels held back by it. She is brave and yet filled with insecurities, and her continuous strife to do the right thing is commendable. All the main leads, in fact, including Starr’s parents, siblings, boyfriend and Maya (her friend) are just absolutely amazing and are so well fleshed-out. They are characters who have their weaknesses and their flaws, but as individuals, they are more than their flaws, skin, and minorities.
The essence and importance of family really shines through this book, and how damn necessary it is to have a supporting, loving family with you. There is also a broken home portrayed in this book, where the family is shattered by a dealer, and the impact that has on the people related to this family is well portrayed.
The sense of community and belongingness is also given an importance here, as Starr and her family is backed by the people in their neighbourhood, who fight with her for justice. The danger aof mobs, and how they sometimes escalate into dangerous situations is excellently written, and shocking to read. Another thing which was very well-portrayed was Starr’s PTSD after the incident.
There is a tiny bit of romance in here too, but unlike a lot other YA contemporaries, the romantic relationship isn’t the centre of their world. One other thing I really liked is how the romantic relationship is already formed from the beginning of the book; as in, Starr and Chris (her boyfriend) do not meet in between the book – they’re already a couple and their love is strong.
One small thing which I feel could’ve been better was the writing and the prose. It wasn’t the best, and isn’t even comparable to the prose of big literary titles. The writing was fine, but I wish it had been a bit more emotional. There are definitely scenes which spark emotion, and the overall story of the book is sad, but this just wasn’t the type of writing which tugged at my heartstrings.
Nevertheless, that in no way should hinder you from picking up this glorious book. Believe the hype, and read this book as soon as you can! It’s totally worth the hype, and is an excellent, important piece of work worth reading.