I was so excited to see we received a reading copy of ‘The Hate U Give’ from Walker Books, as it’s been a hot topic on social media (especially Twitter!) and I’ve seen people raving about it for weeks! I definitely wanted to see if it lived up to the hype, and I was not disappointed. I absolutely loved this book.
The book follows sixteen year old Starr, daughter of a notorious reformed gang member, and her life when it is shattered after seeing her childhood best friend shot in a routine traffic stop by police. A devastated Starr is then torn between her two personas, private schoolgirl and member of a struggling neighbourhood and community. Starr has to make a choice between standing up and making her voice known or keeping quiet for the safety of herself and her family.
This is the book that I think the YA community needs right now, a raw and informative book about something that is happening all too frequently to unarmed US teenagers. It is honest and riveting, educating us on a such an important issue with a healthy dose of humour and romance thrown in as well. I read it in one sitting one Sunday morning, unable to put it down.
This book’s main focus and inspiration is on the very relevant topic of the Black Lives Matter movement, and Angie Thomas has done such a wonderful job of introducing the issue to the YA community. The book is able to portray a first person view into a small experience of what it must be like in that situation, making the story appropriate for the YA audience, but at the same time not leaving too much to the imagination. As a white Australian, I was definitely not educated on the subject and only had what small portion of coverage I had seen in the media to go on. This book opened my eyes to the issues that some teenagers are faced with everyday in the US, through the eyes of someone living the story firsthand.
I loved all the characters throughout the story, Thomas has written each and every single one differently and all so important to the story. From Starr’s friends within her struggling community who understand her loss and have suffered loss of their own, to her private school BFF’s in the dark to what she is going through.
Arguably, the family dynamic was one of the things that made this book so fantastic. Starr’s relationship with her protective, caring father was filled with nothing but love and admiration, as was her relationship with her older, half brother. The family connection was so integral to this story, and it was so great to see a family dynamic that wasn’t problem free and perfect, or broken and horrible but normal.
This book is deep, confronting and so, so important. Not only does it tell the story of what is happening across the US to unarmed teenagers, it educates those that are worlds away. This book is definitely a must read for anyone, be they interested or curious in what is happening in the US or just like a riveting, informative read.
The Hate U Give was an immediate 5/5 stars for me, I think this one will definitely stick with me for years to come.