The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Reviewed by Savanah Baugh
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Published on February 28, 2017 by Balzer + Bray
Copies Sold: 1.5 million
Goodreads Choice Awards Best Young Adult Fiction
Goodreads Choice Awards Best Debut Goodreads Author
Audie Award for Young Adult
Audie Award for Best Female Narrator
Goodreads Choice Awards Best of the Best
Sixteen year old Starr Carter is an African American girl who lives in the neighborhood of Garden Heights. After watching her friend Natasha get shot and killed, when she was ten, Starr begins attending a mostly white private school known as Williamson Prep. During a party near the end of spring break, Starr reunites with her childhood best friend, Khalil Harris. But as Khalil is driving Starr home, the two are stopped by a white policeman, who ends up shooting and killing Khalil after thinking he possessed a weapon. After witnessing the event, Starr attempts to get justice for Khalil but is forced to face many different trials and tribulations throughout the story in order to do so.
This book captures the attention of its readers from the very beginning by starting off with Khalil’s shooting in the second chapter. The book also does a wonderful job opening the eyes of its audience to how people can be affected by racism, although it is more violent than most books (even more so in the movie) that try to cover the same subject. Shootings, gang fights, and riots often occur or are mentioned throughout the story. It often suggests the possibility of what happened to Khalil happening to Starr or the reader. The story makes readers think about all of the trials and tribulations that black people face in everyday life. One can grow up knowing that racism is an awful thing, but may not know or see just how badly people are affected by it until they see or read about events such as these.
I found this book to be very interesting because it portrays racism in such a unique way. It shows what harmful things can happen to black people, such as getting shot or arrested, not because they’ve done anything wrong, but simply because they are black. Throughout the story, I often felt sad for Khalil and Starr- Khalil, because of his death and the way he died, and Starr for having to witness it. I also felt angry for the lack of sympathy that the two received from people, such as police officers and Starr’s classmates. I would recommend this book because the events that take place, such as Khalil’s shooting and the riots that follow, really make you think about the cause and effect of gun violence.
What is especially impressive about this book is that it’s Thomas’s first. Thomas was inspired to write the novel in 2010, after the Iceberg-Grant case. Oscar Grant was a young man who was killed by a policeman. Thomas wondered what would happen if the situation were to take place within her own neighborhood and how everyone would react to the situation. Many similar cases occurred, and eventually, Thomas wanted to find a way to find hope and to show the human side of all of these cases, thus creating The Hate U Give.
In 2018, The Hate U Give was turned into a movie and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 7, 2018, before being released in theaters on October 5, 2018. Many did not know that the movie was based off of a book, myself included. I didn’t know, until I saw the movie with my friend Jeanette who had read the book just last year. Throughout the movie, she spoke of similarities and differences between the two. By the time the movie was over, I had a strong desire to read the book and enjoyed it just as much as the movie.