Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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the-hate-u-giveThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Published by: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Date of Publication: January 28th 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Own Voices, Diverse

Pages: 464

Format: eGalley (Edelweiss)

Rating:★★★★★ 5 Stars

*Thank you Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, Netgalley, and Angie Thomas for the eGalley of The Hate U Give in exchange for an honest review.

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Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star.

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Inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement, The Hate U Give tells the story of Starr who witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best-friend. Starr is introduced as a 16 year old living in a very poor & high in crime neighborhood. Her parents placed her in a school in the suburbs away from the neighborhood they live in & commute every day to provide Starr & her two siblings a safer environment to study as well as a better education. Starr pretty much lives two very different lives and prefers to keep them separate from each other. She has friends and a caucasian boyfriend who don’t really know much about her. Starr isn’t comfortable being herself around them, often changing how she speaks and adopting her friends likes/dislikes. This all changed the night that she attended a party with her friend and bumped into her childhood best friend Khalil. A friendship she had let go once she started going to a school outside of the neighborhood & carries some guilt for doing so. Khalil & Starr grew up together and he’s very protective of her. When the party turns violent it is Khalil who thinks fast to get Starr away from danger. It would be the last act of love he would carry out for Starr. The Hate U Give revolves around Khalil’s unjust death & serves as the catalyst for Starr. Along with the main plot line of Khalil’s death we get subplots that serve to present a better understanding of the fear, anger, frustration, sadness, helplessness, and yes the hate felt by people of color. Experiences in Starr’s neighborhood will leave her feeling shaken to her core. Her neighborhood is filled with tension after Khalil’s shooting by a Caucassian Police officer. The media digs deep & portrays Khalil in a negative light, focusing on the life they believe he led as a gang banger selling drugs. In the neighborhood, we see the control these gangs have over the residents. The saying “snitches get stitches” is more a code to live by for fear of retribution.

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Angie Thomas has given us in The Hate U Give some of the most fleshed out characters you’ll ever come across on the page. To say that I was invested in all of the characters is an understatement…they live within me & I will carry them in my heart for as long as time permits. Starting with Starr who although we see her struggling to keep her two worlds/identities apart, still stays true to herself in little ways. Starr has a passion for basketball & fresh kicks aka sneakers, and her family. She is someone who has experienced loss at a young age to the injustices of the world. We see her strength at a young age get her through what lies ahead. Starr’s parents have now joined my Parentals Hall Of Fame alongside the Weasley’s. They are firm and strict all the while loving & teaching their kids the ways of the world. I loved seeing mom & dad interact with Starr & her siblings as well as themselves. This couple has a ton of history, not all great but it’s history nonetheless. Mom & dad’s relationship has had its highs & lows like any other marriage, it’s far from perfect and I enjoyed how authentic their relationship played out on the pages. The sibling relationships were pretty special & their interactions often left me smiling. Starr has two brothers who she is very close with and I loved seeing them look out for each other. We also get introduced to Starr’s uncle who plays the role of a positive father figure & also happens to be a police officer. Starr’s uncle is also affected by the events of the night Khalil was shot & it was interesting to see him handle certain situations (1 of my fave characters). The Hate U Give has a ton of supporting characters giving us the readers many different perspectives. Ultimately they come together to form a narrative we’ve now become familiar with through real life media/news coverage.

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The dialogue in The Hate U Give has such an authentic feel to it which pulls you in and doesn’t let go until the very last page. At 464 pages, this never felt like a dense read even if the subject matter itself was profound. This book will lift the veil from your eyes if there is one there, it most certainly will make you feel uncomfortable as it should. We can’t learn if we are stuck in comfort. Many times while reading I felt my heart & mind heavy with thoughts of our future. After all, this book is heavily influenced by the Black Lives Matter movement & is a story that we have unfortunately seen play out in the media in real life too many times. I believe this book to be relevant to our current day & one that should be read by all. I connected with this book on a more personal level & for that I will forever be thankful for Angie Thomas. See, I am married to an African American man and we have two beautiful children. Our son is brown skinned like his dad & our daughter is white skinned like myself. I remember being pregnant with my son, watching the news and fearing for my unborn child. Young African American teens were losing their lives in senseless shootings by police officers across the nation. The conversations I had with my husband on how we would raise our son always left me deep in thought afterwards. Is this really the world/life I’ve brought my son into? he is now two going on three & the shootings have continued with little to no justice for these young souls. It is my hope (like any other mothers) that his future is a somewhat better place for people of color. The Hate U Give at its core attempts to give the reader some insight on how it feels to be targeted over the color of your skin, the powerlessness that converts into hate, and the motivation behind activism & protests. A poignant read, The Hate U Give will impact many lives by the time the very last word is read.

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15049422Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi as indicated by her accent. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She can also still rap if needed. She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Meyers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. Her debut novel, The Hate U Give, was acquired by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins in a 13-house auction and will be published in spring 2017. Film rights have been optioned by Fox 2000 with George Tillman attached to direct and Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg set to star.

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Author: LairOfBooks

"Between The Pages Of A Book Is A Lovely Place To Be"-Anonymous

33 thoughts on “Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas”

  1. Fantastic review! I feel this is an important read. I stay away from YA but I’ll make an exception for this one, there is a lesson that we still have to learn/remember/start to work on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Donna! This would be the 1 book I’d recommend for non YA bookworms. It’s being called an instant classic, I can see this book being read in colleges. It’s a raw account that we’ve only seen one side of…the media & the justice system. This book attempts to give you insight on behalf of POC targeted for the color of their skin. Fave read of the year & I honestly don’t think it can be topped 😉

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  2. i cannot wait to read this book!! this is exactly what we need right now with everything that is going on, we need to bring awareness to our book community as well. amazing review my friend! thanks for sharing your personal experience xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Annie, unfortunately a lot of the time we also only get one side of the story from the media and the justice system. Although fictional, this is a raw & moving account told by those affected by this tragedy that we’ve only seen play out on our tv’s. I hope this book touches many lives & provides somewhat of an understanding even if minimal 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been eagerly awaiting your review for this and I’m officially even more excited to read it! It sounds like such a powerful and insightful read and I love how strong the family presence is in it. I’m definitely going to have to read it as soon as I get the chance to. Great review, Lilly!! 💕😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Melissa! It was tough reading this book at times but I’m so glad I did! There were also many insightful moments I took away from the reading experience. I’m really excited for this book to be out already, so many friends I’ve spoken to about this book. My hubby is super intrigued as is my sister & bestie. Can’t wait for the movie adaptation either😃

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome!! 💕
        That’s awesome. I’m thinking I’ll definitely have to recommend this to my friend and maybe send her your review. I have a feeling it’s something she’ll want to read too. 😁
        There’s going to be a movie adaptation!? I didn’t know that! I’ll have to keep an eye out for information about it.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. First of all Lilly, this review is so well written and moving. Your love and connection for this book resonates with how well you dissected and discribed it.

    I admit that I am not good at reading diverse titles. Horrible actually. I often just read without thinking about it, when in reality I need to be aware and branch out more.

    This sounds so powerfully relevant. I am going to add this to my list 💖

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  5. Great review! I especially enjoyed the part about having to live two lives. I often find myself drifting back into my deep Southern drawl when I go home to Greenville, South Carolina, just two hours away from the ATL so picture they’re drawl and you’ve got Greenville. Then, when I’m work, I dare not speak that way. It’s not that the English is broken; it isn’t. It’s just the drawl of it all.

    I also like that this book challenges you out of your comfort zone, for there, is not a place where growth is easily possible. I look forward to reading how Angie Thomas approaches the Black Lives Matter Movement. The book is now on my TBR list.

    Best,

    James

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’ve seen my husband change up the way he speaks as well, not broken or anything but def his comfort level is affected. He works for a hedge fund & is probably 1 of 3 black men in the staff, something he’s told me he’s very much aware of. I can’t say This book was an eye opener for me since I’ve been seeing first hand what my husband feels when we go on road trips. I now head out with a prayer & hopes that he will return safely. For my son, I can’t put into words the fear I feel seeing what these other mothers are going through. This book if anything stirred in me the need to do something. I may not know what that something is yet, but I’m working on it 😉 as always, thank you for stopping by 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Awesome review, Lilly! You know I’ve already been looking forward to this book, but you have just made me even more excited with your review! I know I’m just gonna fall right in love with the characters and I’m sure it’ll even turn into an emotional read for me at some point. I can’t wait!!

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  7. Yay! I’ve been waiting to read your review. Did your husband read it yet?!

    I really like that it seems there is a lot of positive family dynamics in this book, as that is so important in YA books.

    It breaks my heart that you have to worry about your son. No mother should have to fear for the safety of their child simply because of his skin color. I will never know what that is like. Something needs to change.

    I cannot wait to read this book. I know I will learn so much from it and I am so ready!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Amanda! He hasn’t read it yet since I have a galley copy. We are picking up a physical copy on release day 😃 the tragedy in this book has become a reality for so many mothers. I’m glad that Angie Thomas managed to highlight the strong positive family dynamics for this family. I’m sure many will be able to relate & see themselves in Starr & her family. I’ve learned so much being married to a African American man. It doesn’t matter that he has his degree from a private Uni that he is currently paying off. Or that he has a great job in his field of choice, nor that he is absolutely the most responsible man I know. When driving, I have to remind him to take off his North Face hoodie. It’s winter, he should be able to keep his heard warm right? Wrong! As soon as we get in the car at 7am to drop off 1 child at school & the other at our private sitter, I have to remind him to take off his hat when getting in the car. Otherwise he may get pulled over. I don’t want this for him or my son, it’s a constant thought that lingers in the back of my mind. We haven’t visited his brother in Massachusetts in over a year for this very reason. Some of these states have it way worse with racism & I just can’t take that chance😞 thanks Amanda, I wish there were more people like you trying to educate themselves 💕

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for sharing that with me. Again, something I’ve ever had to think about…. such an important part of educating myself is learning from others as well, so thank YOU for helping me in my education. I promise you I will be picking this book up. Actually right after I typed that comment I went to Amazon and pre-ordered it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m so sorry for my lateness with this response, I physically moved to a new home this past week. I look forward to your thoughts on this book & I’m so happy to know people like you who care enough to get educated 😉

        Like

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