My Thoughts About The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Book Review #131)

It’s been a while since I reviewed a book and I am glad I am coming back with this one. I don’t know exactly where to begin in praising this brilliant debut novel. In this time and age when some people believes that they are greater than others, this book’s message about equality is very timely. I will no longer be surprised if this book will become a classic.

It seems like it was only yesterday when I first heard about this book. Late last year when I heard about this one mentioned by a lot of my favorite Booktubers in their most anticipated books of 2017. Curious to know what it is all about I immediately checked Goodreads to check its synopsis. After reading it, it reminded me of Between the World and Me by Tanehesi Coates which one of the best books that I read from last year. I told myself that I should read this book with high hopes that it won’t fail me. And yeas maam, it definitely delivered.

“I learned that people make mistakes, and you have to decide if their mistakes are bigger than your love for them.”
― Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give

“Inspired by the Black Lives movement”, this book follows the story of Starr Carter, a 16-year old black girl who tries to balance her life in two different worlds: her black and poor neighborhood in a fictional town called Garden Heights and her fancy predominantly white school, Williamson Prep. Starr acts different in her two worlds. She avoids acting “too black” in her school fearing that people might get a different impression of her and the place where she lives. The book starts with Starr attending a party with her friends. Because of a gang dispute, she and her childhood friend, Khalil, whom she has not seen in a while, had to flee. The plot begins when they were stopped by a policeman on their way home. Nervous and confused, Starr had to calm herself and remind herself about “the talk” that her parents discussed with her about how she should act when approached by white police officers. Everything happened so fast and a simple random checkpoint became something that Starr did not see coming. Time seemed to slow down while they were being checked and everything seems to be going well but a sudden simple movement by her friend, that was misinterpreted by the police officer, caused him his life. In an instant, she finds her jacket stained with blood and his friends dead body in his arms. The white cop had shoot Khalil three times.

Being the second murder that she witnessed in her life Starr was caught with grief and guilt. She had to navigate through her new found fame as the witness to the crime when Khalil’s death bannered national headlines. In the aftermath of the incident, she had to make decisions that did not come easy as it tested her strength and beliefs. She had to make choices that did not become easy as it concerns her privacy and security. Will she get the courage to stand up and fight? With her living in two different worlds, up until when will she be able to code switch?

“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”
― Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give

The book became a story of how Starr fought her own prejudices in showing her actual self to people she believes will judge her while at the same time fighting fate that seems to be not on their side, the police who seems to be not at all interested in pursuing the case and the media that believes that Khalil deserved his death.

Aside from it’s message another aspect of the story that stood out for me is the book’s characterization. I like how the author made them very complicated. Complicated in a way that is not bad. Complicated in a way that they were crafted like puzzle pieces that when arranged together they form this colorful tapestry of diverse and memorable characters. The characters have flaws but they are believable with unique personalities. I like how Starr was portrayed as a character that everyone will root for. She’s frank and she’s doubtful at times but towards the ending I love how she was able to find her strength and be able to become the source of light in everyone’s lives. The side characters added color to the story. They all became part of Starr’s support system during her rough times. The neighborhood where Starr lives is a community where drugs and gangs thrive but despite that there’s still those people who believes in change. At first, it’s a community optimistic of the future but is afraid to make a move to make a change but eventually the people stood up and became determined to be the change that they were asking. Her family, though having a complicated setup, became her primary source of strength. Their love for Starr is overflowing. Her father was an ex-convict who was jailed because of drugs. He’s started anew and now lives clean but the past still haunts him. Her caring uncle, a police, who became her dad figure when her father was in prison. Her mother who works in a hospital who is anything a child could wish for for a mother. Her siblings who are very supportive and protective of her. Her boyfriend, who is white, who’s understanding and is someone she wish to have. And her friends who are diverse and loving. This book is by far has one of the best set of characters that I read. Every character has their part and played a vital role in the development of the story.

“I learned that people make mistakes, and you have to decide if their mistakes are bigger than your love for them.”
― Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give

This book’s message is very clear. That is regardless of who you are, what you believe in or where you came from is not a reason for you to be judged wrongly, is not a reason for you to be treated inappropriately and is not a reason for you to be denied of your rights. I know that this is not the first of its kind that is out there but what set this book apart from the others is how genuinely it was written. It’s very honest in giving a glimpse of what it is to be part of the minority in the United States. It is a raw account of the lives of the minorities on a daily basis. It acknowledged that racism still exists and the author did not sugarcoat anything to prove her point.

Though the book covers serious topics such as racism and police violence targeted towards the minorities, this is not at all a hard read. I really appreciated the humor that was incorporated in this book. It made the book even more engaging. The author immersed me in the story which allowed me to fully reflect on certain things particularly on how I interact to other people.

Overall, this book is simply written and flawlessly crafted. This may sound cliche but I really can’t find anything bad to say about this book. I just love everything from it and I can’t wait for others to read it.

This book educates. This book is necessary. This book is for everyone.

5 stars out of 5.

“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”

BOOK SPECIFICATIONS:

Author: Angie Thomas
Format: Ebook
Part of a Series: No
Release Year: February 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
No. of Pages: 464 pages

About the Author

Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi as indicated by her accent. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She can also still rap if needed. She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Meyers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. Her debut novel, The Hate U Give, was acquired by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins in a 13-house auction and will be published in spring 2017. Film rights have been optioned by Fox 2000 with George Tillman attached to direct and Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg set to star.

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3 thoughts on “My Thoughts About The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Book Review #131)

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