Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Synopsis: 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.
Books exist to allow readers into a world they might never experience in day-to-day life. Some educate, amaze, immerse or leave you with a lasting impression you take with you for a long time.
This is one of those books.
The hype on this book is definitely deserved, and the fact “handbook gate” managed to knock it off is rightfully laughable, I’m incredibly glad that was resolved because this is a master of contemporary literature – and I don’t even gravitate towards contemporary all that much.
Starr is an amazing leading lady, without being the typical leading lady at all. Everything on the page is rooted in her grief and sense of anger, the fact she has to have two different personalities for fear of isolation from the ‘posh kids’ (don’t get me started on that Hailey cow, I’ve known too many of her). You understand everything she’s going through, the torment of losing a friend in such a horrific way. And how refreshing it was to have such a supportive and loving family dynamic in this. Perfect family? No. Real family? Yes. In fact they’re one of my favourite families ever, now.
Is it a perfect book? Damn well near. While I didn’t like Chris, the boyfriend, because he felt bland and underdeveloped on the page it didn’t really matter. It wasn’t Chris’ story, it was Starr’s, and I was fully enveloped in her world. I felt her anger, I felt her sense of injustice, I was absolutely ashamed at a system which is flawed – because the same issues present here in the UK, too. Chris, at least to me, wasn’t important at all. Starr was. So the fact I didn’t feel him much doesn’t really make a difference to the overall lasting impression THUG leaves.
THUG gave me a lot of feelings. I am definitely better off for having read it, and it has given me more of a sense of the dangers the black community face in America. I understand more of their issues with the police, and while I know it’s a work of fiction it’s nevertheless rooted in reality. That’s why it packs an extra punch, and I believe it’s going to be considered a classic in many years to come.