The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
So I have re-evaluated my “to-read” list. In the past, I have tried to read the books in the order that I added them to list but my list is so long that always meant I was reading books everyone was talking about, long after everyone was done talking about them. I’ve decided to not be a prisoner to my “to-read” list. There’s no chance I’ll ever catch up in this lifetime!
So from now on, I’m going to read what I feel like reading, no matter where it lands on my list. That is what brought me to read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Every time I turn around someone else is saying what a great read it is!
Starr lives two lives. She lives her life at home, in her neighborhood, the “ghetto”, and she attends school at a predominantly white private school. When she is at school, her voice changes, she is aware of her reactions and doesn’t want to come off as the “black girl with attitude”. No matter what she does at school, it is considered cool because people at school expect her to know what “cool” is. In her neighborhood, she is just Mav’s daugher who works at the store. She doesn’t know how to pull her two worlds together.
The book opens with Starr going to a party that ends suddenly with gunshots. As Starr leave the party, she runs into her childhood friend, Khalil. He offers to give her a ride home. On the ride home, Khalil is pulled over because of a taillight out and everything goes wrong. Starr has always been told how to act in front of the police and she hopes Khalil got that talk too. Horrifically, Khalil is shot by the police officer right in front of Starr, even though Khalil wasn’t doing anything wrong.
This is the story of how Starr survives after this horrific incident. She already had her childhood best friend die in her arms after a drive-by shooting so Starr is no stranger to tragedy but it is all so wrong.
Khalil’s death becomes a national headline and Starr struggles to keep her life at school and home together throughout everything going on. She battles through her emotions of the possibility of the cop who shot her friend not even being punished.
This book…I couldn’t put it down. Even though Starr’s life and my life could not be any more different, I just wanted to reach through the book and hug her. This book is why it’s important to get all types of books into all types of kids hands. Starr made me think about the Black Lives Matters movement in a different perspective than I could have on my own. She made me see all sides to stories that I only see in headlines. She brought Starr and her entire lovable family right into my little white, rural home.
Angie Thomas does such a great job of bringing all the characters in this story to life. They are all so complex, no matter how big a role they played in the book.
I loved the line, “You can say racist things and not be a racist.” I’m not a racist but I’m sure I have said very inconsiderate things without even realizing it. After reading this book, I am much more aware of the world around me and my part of being a responsible, compassionate person.
I am a better person for having read this story.
AND it’s being made into a movie. I can’t wait to go see it!