"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"--… (more)
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16-year-old Starr is catching up innocently in a car with her friend Khalil, when a traffic stop goes sideways and a police officer shoots and kills unarmed Khalil. Right off the newspaper front pages, right?
Casual, "unintentional" racism crops up at the school and with a close friend. The effects of brutality and drug addiction are seen in her neighborhood and among her extended family. Starr, as the witness, is caught up in the investigation and grand jury's determination, and in a gang leader's concern that she not snitch. Bad cops of different races enter the picture, as do good ones.
If you don't believe in the Black Lives Matter movement because All Lives Matter (and logically you don't believe in groups that support Breast Cancer Research, because All Cancer Matters), then you won't want to read this book. I'm heartened that so many kids (and adults) are reading it; it's been a YA bestseller for many weeks now.
“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”
* * * *
“That's the problem. We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What's the point of having a voice if you're gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn't be?”
* * * *
“Once upon a time there was a hazel-eyed boy with dimples. I called him Khalil. The world called him a thug.
He lived, but not nearly long enough, and for the rest of my life I'll remember how he died.
Fairy tale? No. But I'm not giving up on a better ending.”
* * * *
The title comes from performer Tupac Shakur’s THUG LIFE acronym - “The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody”. Khalil explains: “What society gives us as youth, it bites them in the ass when we wild out.”
This book credibly presents a variety of sides, arguments and responses. Starr's neighborhood is all too real, and so are the other worlds that collide with it. Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice - we've seen so many young victims like Khalil. Angie Thomas has done a remarkable job of bringing the reader inside, where all the suffering, disappointment and hope lie.
In my opinion, this one is a classic. It is being widely read and studied already, and I can only see that continuing. The entrenched effects of racism, classism, and ignorance are brought into the light, thanks to our engaging and all-too-human guide, Starr.
A really well presented perspective on racial/socioeconomic/cultural identity with verbal code switching between Starr in her 'hood and Starr at a private/privileged, mostly-white school, plus the ability to use one's voice to call attention to issues as well as to shape a conversation, as well as taking responsibility for one's actions and looking out for one's neighbors. I also learned a lot about Tupac and the interpretation of his THUG LIFE philosophy, which was also really well done and a valuable thing that we'd do well to understand. I also appreciated how complicated the shooting of Khalil turned out to be, with a mix of emotions on each side--Uncle Carlos' reversed stance is one example of how different an incident can look even to the same person at different times.
Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give
The Hate U Give was on my to be read pile for way too long. Since its release in 2017, it has received countless accolades and fantastic reviews. Now I know
So many thoughts and
But when Starr accepts a ride home from a party with her former best friend Khalil whom she hasn't seen for a long time, they are stopped by a cop. Her friend makes a sudden move, and is gunned down. Starr has a gun held on her until other police arrive.
Khalil was rumored to be a drug dealer and the cop thought he had a gun. But is any of that relevant?
Starr wants to hide her involvement as the 'unidentifed passenger' from her white friends, but also needs to honor her murdered friend's memory. And so begins Starr's journey to make sense of the two parts of her life, to figure out who she is and how justice and injustice permeate her life.
It's a complex and moving story, straight out of the headlines. I finished the book with huge empathy for those caught up in these events and increased awareness of how my white privilege has colored my views.
A rare five star book.
The subject matter is tough, but essential, and thankfully the book is extremely readable. There are so many fascinating perspectives here: Starr's uncle is a black police officer in the same precinct. Starr's family is technically well-off enough to move to a different neighborhood, but should they? Starr's father used to be in a gang but got out when he went to prison for 3 years when Starr was young, and he still feels guilt about leaving his family for that long. Starr really likes her white boyfriend, but doesn't know if he'll ever be able to truly understand her. Starr is a wonderfully realistic character, and her life is one almost never seen in print before. This book is perfectly written, very important, and good exercise for your empathy muscles. Highly recommended for literally absolutely everyone.
A compelling, complex exploration of social issues and race in America. It was powerful and gave me much food for thought. It is a helpful way to explore hot topics in the news and contemporary life through this realistic fiction story with amazing characters.
While this book would be a match for some 8th graders, I don't know if many 6th graders would be ready for the themes and language...which has me waffling about its place in the middle school library.
The Hate U Give, the YA novel by author Angie Thomas is inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. This fact may make some readers shy away but I hope not. This is a beautifully written book both in its style and content. It is, at times, heartbreaking, even occasionally humourous but completely riveting. One thing it never is is simplistic. Thomas never shies away from the very real problems within impoverished neighbourhoods including drugs and gangs but she also gives a powerful portrait of and insight into a world where options are limited, usually bad, and too often deadly. The title is taken from Tupac Shakur’s explanation of Thug Life: The Hate U Give Little Infants F**ks Everybody and this philosophy runs throughout the novel, examining the effects that racism has, not only on the victims but on the perpetrators and the society as a whole.
This is that rare book that I had to read more than once not because I didn’t feel its impact the first time but because I did. And know I will read it again. The Hate U Give is possibly the best book I will read this year and I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Thanks to Edelweiss and Balzer & Bray for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review
Before the shooting, Starr lived in two different worlds. Her weekdays were spent in a predominately white, affluent private school. There, she’s cool by default, she explains, because she’s one of the few black students. Yet, she’s careful not to act too ‘black’ for fear the white students will think she’s ‘ghetto’. At home in her gang-ridden neighborhood, she’s a sassy-mouthed, Air Jordan loving girl who works part-time at her gang-legend dad’s convenience store.
But then Khalil’s shooting becomes national news. The media justifies her friend’s death by labeling him a thug and drug dealer. Many agree, including one of her best friends at school. There was always a rift between her two worlds, but now it’s larger than ever.
As Starr says, “I hope none of them asks me about my spring break. They went to Taipei, the Bahamas, Harry Potter World. I stayed in the hood and saw a cop kill my friend.” Start has hard choices to make. If she speaks out, will it mean justice for Khalil? Or will it only serve to further isolate Starr?
The stories of Eric Garner, Treyvon Martin, Philando Castile, and many others haunt the pages of Angie Thomas’ debut novel “The Hate U Give.” Through the eyes of Starr, she reveals the reality of systemic racism, as well as a gut-punching sense of what it’s like to be young and black in America today. Thomas’s talent for writing natural dialogue and exceptional characters will elevate the story above any others you’ve recently read. Your heart will go out to Starr as you cheer her on, all the while hoping that the gross lack of justice in real life isn’t repeated in the pages of this fictional book.
“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas is a young adult novel told from the perspective of a sixteen-year-old girl, but the story will appeal to far more than just teens. There isn’t a more authentic voice than that of youthful innocence to lay bare the reality of racism and take it straight to readers’ hearts. “The Hate U Give” will indeed serve as a mirror for some, but as a much-needed window for the rest.
Thomas deserves our highest praise — and thanks.