Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Summary from Goodreads:
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, Khalil’s death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Starr’s best friend at school suggests he may have had it coming. When it becomes clear the police have little interest in investigating the incident, protesters take to the streets and Starr’s neighborhood becomes a war zone. 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 destroy her community. It could also endanger her life.
This is my favorite book of the year (so far). I’ve been in a reading slump, kind of. This woke me up from that. I read this book in 2 days. It was unlike any other book I’ve ever read. It tackled some serious issues that are currently at the forefront of people’s minds. And more than handling a topic well, the book was just a wonderfully told story.
I have not had the opportunity to read such a current YA book before. I’ve also never read a book to tackle the topic of race like this before. Normally, I feel like books that handle the difficult topic of racism take place in a different time (ie: the 60’s or the Civil War). It is so necessary and so important to have books on this topic that take place now.
I love that it’s not just about the racism in the police force either. It’s about racism in school, the media, and the day-to-day. It’s in how Starr is taught to behave in front of police officers, how she feels she hast to behave while attending a mostly white school, how she acts in her group of friends, and in everything. Race is a part of everything.
And I loved Starr. I related to her even though my life is so different from hers. I loved her relationship with her family, her neighborhood, and her friends. All of the side characters felt like living, breathing people. The characters of this story stood out in a good way, her family in particular. I love that her family plays such an important role in the story. I’m not used to parents who are together and in love -she refers to them as her OTP…I loved how supportive they were for her. Oh, and I loved her uncle too. What a family!
There’s a lot of grey areas in this book. It’s not always clear what is right and what is wrong.  Like it’s said in the novel, “Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.” Doing right, is such an important aspect to the whole story. Starr wants to do right by her friend so badly.
This is both a book for the character readers and the plot readers. The first half is more about character. The second half is all action. I’m not normally so scared for the lives of characters in contemporary YA novels. But, I was on the edge of my seat through fights, riots, police brutality, bombs, fires, and violence.
This wasn’t the easiest read either. A lot of harsh truths are unleashed. Starr also has a bumpy relationship with her boyfriend, and I definitely shipped them. I loved watching Starr’s family grow to know him and take him under their wing.
This book accomplishes a lot of things. It brings to light some serious topics. It doesn’t sugar coat things or solve the world’s problems, but sometimes you just need a book that tells you what the problems are. This does that. It’s also loaded with great characters. The plot had me at the edge of my seat. And I can’t stop thinking about it. I hope a lot of people read this book. I give it a 10/10.

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