Author: Angie Thomas
Publisher: Walker YA
Topics: Black Lives Matter, race, police brutality, diversity
Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.
I’m not sure if I can do this book justice in a review. It was incredibly thought-provoking and I can’t begin to express how much it spoke to me. It was so real, so unafraid to discuss topics that are scarce in YA as far as I’m aware of, like corruption amongst authority figures, police brutality, guns, gang culture, drug dealing, racism, racial stereotypes. Even more importantly, Angie Thomas puts across some incredible messages that’ll stick with me for a long time. Some of my favourite quotes:
“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”
“I can’t change where I come from or what I’ve been through, so why should I be ashamed of what makes me, me?”
“That’s the hate they’re giving us, baby, a system designed against us. That’s Thug Life.”
Aside from all this, I loved Starr and her development from being afraid and unable to speak out to finding her voice and fighting back. I loved the dynamics within Starr’s family and her neighbourhood; the sense of community within Garden Heights was so well done. When it comes to places like Garden Heights, it can be easy to hone in on the negatives. Personally, I grew up in, and still live near, some pretty rough areas, so I really appreciated that Angie Thomas highlighted the positive side of poorer, or more run down, communities to counteract the negatives.
Everyone should read this book. It explores so many relevant issues and handles them tactfully and sensitively; it never came across as preachy. I could write an essay on everything I loved about The Hate U Give, which is saying something, because I’m usually sceptical of books that are overly hyped.
This book deserves the hype. It was amazing and I feel like I gained something from every page. I’ll be talking about it to everyone who will listen, and I can’t wait to see what Angie Thomas does next.
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