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Review of The Hate U Give

Blurb: 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.

Review: Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed friend by a police officer. She's already trying to balance two worlds: her poor Black neighborhood and the fancy prep school she attends. Now she's at the center of a huge controversy. The officer claims to be innocent, and Starr is the only one who knows otherwise. It doesn't matter if she does or does not speak out, it could mean her life.

What an incredibly emotional YA read. I picked up this book because my son's 8th grade class is reading it this semester, and I'm so glad that they are. Not only is it socially relevant, it is a real picture of what it is like for a teenager dealing with a horrific event and all that grows out of it. Starr is scared and angry and sad and brave and everything in between. The depiction of her post-traumatic stress disorder is written well. Not only did the shooting take a life, it irrevocably changed Starr's and thousands of other people's.

Opposing points of view on several issues are shown. Starr's mother wants to get the family out of their neighborhood, so they don't fall victim to the threats and gang violence. Her father wants them to stay and help build up the community to something better and stronger. Starr lives in a poor neighborhood and she attends a fancy prep school outside of that district. She tries to live life in each part, but she feels divided into two people. Should she date her white boyfriend or is that somehow a betrayal of her race? Some folks think Starr needs to not say anything for it will make her a target and others believe she needs to risk her life and speak out. I love the support of her family, and how they have her back no matter what she chooses.

On top of these heavy issues like racism, the story also has everyday teen stuff. Drama with friends and family, relationship issues with her boyfriend, fitting in, and trying to find yourself. All of this is expertly woven in with the big issues. The book also has a very important message for everyone: "Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right."

You can find Angie Thomas on her site and buy the book here.

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M.J. Fifield
M.J. Fifield
Feb 05

I'm so glad your son's class is reading this book, and that you read it, too! It is such an intense, emotional read.

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