Format – Prose
Edition – Paperback (UK)
Date of publication – April 6th 2017
No of pages – 438
Genre – Contemporary
Age – YA
Author – Angie Thomas
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.
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.
How do you write a review for a book that tells you more home truths about living in America than you ever hear through the public media?
I think the honest answer is that you wouldn’t be able to do it justice. I know I can’t, and I know that whatever rating I give is nothing compared to what this book portrays.
Race relations is a matter that America has been dealing with since the end of the Civil War and the creation of the Emancipation Proclamation. No matter how much progress has been made over the years, there will always be something happening that forces people to take a look at themselves and the wider world.
The Hate U Give stems from that.
Using the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas gives us a book that deserves the publicity it has received. It is eye-opening, emotionally powerful, and it provides a voice to people oppressed by the media and general society.
Reading the first few pages, I was convinced I wasn’t going to like the writing style or the story itself but a little conscience in my mind told me to keep reading right to the very end. I’m glad I did because I found it to be well written and the message conveyed in a straight, direct manner. It didn’t dance around the bush, and I appreciate that because the story as a whole packed a stronger punch than I was expecting.
However, what pulled it off even more was Starr and her family. Their dynamic is fantastic and it is something I’d love to see more of in contemporary fiction. There is no way I can say what it would be like if it was someone else in Starr’s situation, but her parents are so supportive and protective of her rights and opinions, and that is incredibly important. They don’t push her to come forward, they let her make her own judgement, her own mistakes and that is how it should be.
Something else I loved was that Starr’s romance with Chris was not overplayed. It was there, it was important to Starr, it had it’s pivotal moment when Starr’s father finds out about Chris, but it didn’t take anything away from the plot and the message of the book. Absolutely fabulous!
My only niggling qualm is that I believe the pop and teen culture references will eventually date this book. Nonetheless, for the present day Twenty-First Century, none of that stops the story from broadcasting and spreading awareness of a subject that we all need to hear.
Awareness is crucial in understanding our wider world and books like this do a lot to support that and it keep it going.
All in all, I’m so glad I finally picked this up because it is the type of YA Contemporary I love to read.
I won’t force it down people’s throats but I’d highly consider reading it if you haven’t done so already.
Have you read it yet?
What are your thoughts?
Thanks for reading and have a good day!