EFF THESE BOOK ONIONS MAN. I’M NOT CRYING YOU ARE.
THE HATE U GIVE
by Angie Thomas
Balzer + Bray, February 2017
YA contemporary fiction
Rated: 5 / 5 cookies
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.
Honestly, I debated on whether or not to make this a full-blown review, because I’d only be reiterating every other one of the 20,000+ reviews on Goodreads that laud The Hate U Give with praise. That said, this high rating–and the fact that it’s been at the top of the NYT bestseller list for weeks on end after its release–is not without merit. If nothing else, read it for how realistic it is and how important an addition it is to the conversation we are still having today about race and racism.
As a disclaimer, this is not often the type of book I would review. Mostly I read to escape reality, not to emulate it. And yes, much of fiction–especially the fantasy and scifi that I read–have great bases in the real world, but enough of “fiction” for me to know that honestly, shit like that’s not gonna happen to me anytime soon.
But then there are books like The Hate U Give, and escape at this point is furthest from my mind.
Angie Thomas hits hard and hits quickly. The book itself left me numb in certain situations, and I was definitely not immune to the onions in the pages. By the time I’d gotten to Seven’s breakdown during his birthday party, I was already done in, not to mention the fact that the bittersweet but hopeful epilogue made me bawl for several minutes before I got my shit together. (And then I ended up watching the movie trailer and I started crying again. Ugh, I’m a mess.)
I could not recommend this book more than many people already have. For a good cry, read The Hate U Give. For a good insight to the conversation about #BlackLivesMatter, read The Hate U Give. For a look at injustice and how a young adult deals with it on top of an already tumultuous period in her life, read The Hate U Give.
Hell, on a lighter note, read The Hate U Give just to see your outlook on the Hogwarts houses turn upside down. (Okay, not really, but that bit really did blow my mind…)
5 out of 5 cookies! Seriously, read the book. And have tissues ready.