Bookworm Banter: The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This book made me smile, cry (a lot) and open my eyes. It was honest, thoughtful, touching and most of all, it seemed real. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is a young adult realistic fiction novel. This is a really important story about the Black Lives Matter movement, the fight for justice and the importance of speaking up.

Starr Carter is 16-years-old. She lives with two different personalities: the devoted daughter who lives in a poor neighborhood, and the student at the fancy prep school her parents sent her to. She’s kept her two worlds balanced, but she fears and knows that her worlds are going to collide very soon.

One night, Starr is at a party in her neighborhood and she runs into her childhood friend Khalil. When a fight breaks out at the party, the two leave before things get out of hand. Not long afterward, a police officer pulls Khalil’s car over, and before Starr knows it, Khalil gets shot and killed by the cop. He was unarmed.

Khalil’s death affects everything in Starr’s life. The media has already branded Khalil a drug dealer and a thug. Starr doesn’t feel like she can tell her friends at school what actually happened, but she is angered by the attitude of one of her friends toward Khalil’s shooting. Starr is afraid of telling the truth of what happened that night to police, prosecutors, everyone—what if the police target her family? And will speaking up make the difference, if most of the time white cops don’t pay the price for shooting black people?

This book deals with a lot of current issues. I knew this kind of thing was happening, but reading this book let me experience it from the point of view of someone who is close to the situation, and that made me see things in a very different light. While The Hate U Give focuses on police brutality and the anger minorities feel when the authorities don’t get punished for doing wrong, it is quick to point out that not all police are bad, just like not all black people are drug dealers, gang members or looking to do harm.

Stories like The Hate U Give are stories that need to be told. Even though this book is fiction, it’s realistic fiction. This is happening in the real world. And it’s happening way too often for people to be OK, or to even act OK with it. Starr’s story made me see that even one time is one time too many. These things should not be happening.

I strongly recommend this book to everyone. It’s a good book with a current subject and strong writing. It made me think after reading it, and I like books like that.