Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Genre: Young Adult (Contemporary) [Bonus: #ownvoices novel]
Published: By Balzer + Bray on February 28th, 2017
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
(adapted from Goodreads)
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter navigates between the poverty-stricken neighbourhood she has grown up in and the upper-crust suburban prep school she attends. Her life is up-ended when she is the sole witness to a police officer shooting her best friend, Khalil, who turns out to have been unarmed during the confrontation – but may or may not have been a drug dealer. As Starr finds herself even more torn between the two vastly different worlds she inhabits, she also has to contend with speaking her truth and, in the process, trying to stay alive herself.
This book has been receiving nothing but rave reviews and tons of hype. I am here to tell you that it deserves all of it. This book tells an important story that is relevant today in the global scenario. What I loved most about this book is how it unflinchingly portrays the good and bad sides of the black culture. I was shocked at first to see it in YA, but I appreciated how the author handled sensitive issues without glossing over them. There are so many good aspects to their culture as well, such as the sense of family, their faith, respect for elders in the community, loyalty and so on. I learnt so much about their way of life.
The protagonist, Starr, was carefully crafted to perfection. I loved each of the relationships she had – be it with her brothers, her cousin, her parents or her friends. All of the characters added to the story and every scene either gave me a fresh perspective on their lives or helped the characters grow. If I didn’t know this was a debut book, I never could’ve guessed it. This is storytelling at its absolute peak. Coming to the plot, it was character-driven, which is my favourite kind to read. It doesn’t attempt to colour your perspective and the author doesn’t force her opinion on the reader. I felt like the author captured the atmosphere and all its nuances expertly.
How can I adequately sum up what this book made me feel? It made me smile, choked me with tears, kept me reading into the night and gave me hope. I have the utmost regards and absolute respect for Angie Thomas as an author.
It doesn’t matter what part of the world you’re from because this book is a must-read. The music that goes perfectly with this book is rap by Tupac Shakur. There are several mentions throughout the book and even the title is inspired by his songs. The book has a beautiful family and cultural aspect to it, so try to eat your mom’s/granny’s (or dad’s/grandpa’s – you get the idea) cooking as you read it, especially if it is food that belongs exclusively to your culture.
Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it as much as I did? Is it on your TBR pile? If not, did my review compel you to add it? Let me know in the comments section below.