The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
Genre: YA Fiction, Contemporary
Release Date: February 2017
THIS BOOK OMGG THIS BOOK. The Hate U Give is a very well written book that accurately describes the reality of the injustice that black people face in relation to police brutality. It also addresses the truth behind how black people are represented in the media and how quick people are to not only make negative assumptions about the victim, but to also justify his/hers death based on those assumptions. This book was inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter movement and was also heavily influenced by Tupac Shakur. I like that the book touches on more topics aside from #BLM including, family, community and friendship and I like how everything was portrayed.
I enjoyed all of the Tupac references simply because Tupac is an OG and this book shows that everything he stood for and represented is still completely relevant in modern day America. In particular, there was a paragraph in this book where Starr and her Dad were talking about Tupac’s T.H.U.G L.I.F.E philosophy and her dad explained it to her using present day issues such as America’s drug epidemic in poor minority communities, which I appreciated.
There were a lot of characters within this story, even though not all of them were main characters, almost all of them had a lot of significance within the story. Starting with Starr, Starr was the main character and the story was told from her perspective and I like that as a reader, you are able to view the situation from an open perspective through Starr’s experiences as you see the truth of what happened and how the media portrayed the situation. I also like Starr’s development throughout the course of this book, her progression from being shy and scared to full on activist was written very well. I enjoyed the relationship between Starr and her father, Maverick, I like that he taught his children about black history and the black panthers. I loved that the book showed a positive representation of a black family, especially the black father. Even though the dynamics of the family was somewhat complicated, they were all still very close with each other which is nice to read about #BlackLove.
I thought the relationship between Starr and her school friends were very important, especially Hailey. Even though everything that came out of Hailey’s mouth made me want hit my head against a wall, she was a highly important character and I am glad that was she was apart of this story because there are a lot of Hailey’s in this world. Hailey was a white girl and she was one of Starr’s closest friends along side Maya, who was Chinese. Hailey is #AllLivesMatter personified. When the shooting occurred, she was so focused on the negative things the media were saying about Khalil as if that was justification for his death. She was a very close minded individual who had far too much to say about the situation when she clearly didn’t understand it in the slightest. However, I don’t think Hailey is a bad person, I just feel like she doesn’t understand. I appreciate her being apart of this story as it shows you how ignorant and racist you can sound when you talk about situations you have no understanding of.
Uncle Carlos’s character was also important to the story. He is Starr’s uncle, who is a police detective and he also worked with the police officer that shot Khalil. I like that he was apart of the story because it showed that not all police officers are bad, not all of them have twisted morals and I liked the he spoke about that with Starr. I also felt that he played an important role in portraying the mindset of some people in the hood. Uncle Carlos and his wife, Pam, both lead very successful careers, a detective and a surgeon. They live in a rich white neighbourhood, the same neighbourhood as Starr’s school friends, after moving out of Garden Heights. This should be seen as a good thing, it should be seen as progressive. However, Maverick made remarks that suggested that people who leave the hood are seen as sell-outs. I don’t really agree with this mindset as it’s not very healthy to think that you have remain in a bad situation in order to be seen as ‘loyal’ to your community. I like how the author included this as it is a real life challenge that some people face. But I also like how Maverick changed his views by the end of the story.
Overall, I highly highly recommend this book to everybody. It shed light on a very important topic at this point in history. If you go into the book with an open mind, I feel like you will learn quite a lot not just about police brutality but about the struggles black people, especially poorer black people, face on a daily basis. You will learn that we, as a society, still have a long way to go before reaching equality but we should never lose hope in reaching that goal. I really loved the message that this book gave. It may not have been the perfect fairly tale ending but it will provide you with a sense of hope not just for Garden Heights but for your reality aswell. This book is a great reminder that you shouldn’t let anyone silence you, your voice is your most powerful weapon so you should never be afraid to use it.