Summary: Sixteen-year old Starr Carter leads two lives: the one in her poor, black neighborhood and the one at her predominantly white high school. Starr does her best to balance both worlds, until she witnesses her childhood best friend, Khalil, die at the hands of a police officer. Contrary to the officer’s belief, Khalil was unarmed and innocent. Starr deals with the aftermath of Khalil’s death head on, as he quickly becomes a national headline and Starr’s community looks for answers. Starr must decide how she’ll prove to her friends, community and the nation that Khalil wasn’t the thug the police and media are trying to make him out as.
Star Rating: 5/5 Stars
Cover Lust?: Yes! This cover is just so clean and I love the way Starr’s poster stands out in person
I admit, I was a little nervous to pick up The Hate U Give because of all of the hype it was receiving. Angie Thomas’s debut novel has been #1 on the New York Times Bestsellers list for weeks,and so many bloggers and Booktubers are raving about it. I was afraid that I would end up not liking the book. However, within the first three chapters of The Hate U Give, I just fell into it. When I’m completely memorized by a book in the very beginning, I know there’s a 99.99% chance that I’m going to absolutely love it and I did.
I was enchanted with many of the characters, especially Starr. She’s the side we rarely get in these horrific situations. I love how this book portrays what we don’t see in the media: what actually happened.While it was heartbreaking, I greatly appreciated Thomas for writing Starr’s breakdowns throughout the book. The tears don’t stop right after Khalil dies; they continue throughout the period after his death. Starr didn’t magically stop feeling sad and suddenly become this martyr. She struggles to prove that her friend wasn’t a thug. He was a human, he was her Harry Potter-loving best friend.
Sidenote: I loved the Harry Potter storyline in this book. Starr, Khalil, and Natasha were their own trio. I mean c’mon, “tighter than the inside of Voldemort’s nose”?? That’s genius! I also enjoyed how Seven and Starr find comfort in the series. One of my favorite moments was when Starr’s dad offered to watch Harry Potter with her, even though he didn’t understand why no one ever thought to just shot Voldemort.
The Carters soon became one of my favorite families in the YA world. They have such a strong family dynamic and each brought their own character to the story. Beside his humor, Starr’s dad was one of my favorite characters in THUG because of his love for his family. He refuses to be defined by his past and just wants a better life for his kids.. Also,can Starr’s mom be my honorary aunt or something?? She was just so extremely caring and gave Starr such great advice and support. One of my favorite quotes in the novel comes from Lisa, telling Starr, “Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared, Starr. It means you go on even though you’re scared”. I also loved Starr’s relationship with Seven and Sekani, as they go from giving each other wedgies to standing up for one another.
From the #BlackLivesMatter movement to Starr’s use of social media, I love the contemporary relevance in this book. It feels like 2017. In relation to the political climate that is the #BlackLivesMatter movement, I like how Starr and Thomas make it a point that not all cops are bad, which is additionally exemplified through her Uncle Carlos. They want to call attention to police officers who are in the wrong and don’t take responsibility for their actions.
It was so heartbreaking and frustrating that Starr’s story wasn’t taken seriously in the eyes of the jury and other individuals. In relation to social media, I love how Starr’s Tumblr and Twitter reflect her activism. I even love how during her fight with Hailey, someone shouts “World Star”. While it was a small detail, the fight would be something that was posted to the“World Star” Twitter account. It made it feel like something similar could have happened in any high school or college.
Overall, I loved The Hate U Give because I learned something. I learned about Tupac and Thug Life (by the way, Angie Thomas is a genius for coming up with the anagram, THUG!!!). I learned to not make conceptions about people based on their race, their class, their habits. I learned that it is important to stand up for what you believe in. To stand up for the truth and the people you love.
Have you read The Hate U Give? Share your thoughts and feels in the comments!