Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
What I Thought:
I put off reading this book for a long time, almost a whole year, because it was getting so much hype. Sometimes, I am just stubborn and don’t want to cave to popular opinion. Well, I finally caved, and I am SO GLAD that I did! This book is phenomenal. I knew just a general amount of information about the Black Lives Matter movement, and this book helped me to see deeper into the heart of it.
First, let me just say, I adore Starr. She is such a relatable, likable heroine. I loved how she had confidence in who she was, but also had a hard time knowing everything about who she was. She was searching, just like we all did as teenagers, and figuring out the different sides of herself in the midst of incredible personal trauma from witnessing the death of one of her best childhood friends. That requires an immense amount of bravery and gumption. Even though everyone around her saw her bravery, she couldn’t see it in herself, which just made her all the more endearing to me. One of my favorite quotes from the book addresses this thought:
“Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means you go on even though you’re scared.”
The supporting characters in this novel were wonderful. I loved the relationship that Starr had with her parents, as well as the relationship her parents had with each other. Seeing a good representation of love between spouses is hard to come by in fiction, so this was refreshing to me. I also really enjoyed Starr’s relationships with her brother, Seven, her friendship with a “fellow minority” girl at her fancy school, Maya Yang, and her friend (who was also Seven’s sister), Kenya.
Her boyfriend, Chris, being white, was a fairly large point of contention in the novel. I really liked how this was handled. Starr, at the beginning, was confident in their relationship because of who Chris was, despite his skin color. When she started having doubts, he stood by her and showed her that he also loved her because of her, which had nothing to do with the color of her skin. This touched me, and I applaud Angie Thomas for her treatment of an issue that is still a touchy subject in our country today.
The social commentary in this novel was so well done. I never felt like I was being beaten over the head with it, but it still just stabbed me through the heart (in a good way!) Police brutality, groundless prejudice, black voices not being heard, the prevalence of drugs in primarily black neighborhoods…this is all covered, but it didn’t feel preachy. It felt like it was an organic discussion that should open the eyes of anyone who has the privilege to read it. Well done, and bravo!
If you didn’t think that I enjoyed this book, here is a look at the Instagram pictures I have posted featuring it!
I gave The Hate U Give 5 STARS! (be ever so happy that I didn’t give into temptation and give it 5 STARRS! oh wait…)
Are you interested in learning more about this book? Check out the links below!
Have you read The Hate U Give yet? What did you think? Do you feel that it lives up to all of the hype it’s getting? If you haven’t read it yet…what are you waiting for? I want to know! Leave me a comment! I love to talk to y’all about this stuff! 🙂
Love and happy reading,