Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Release Date - February 28, 2017
Publisher Website - Harper Collins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader/Frenzy
Pages -  464 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty. Soon to be a major motion picture from Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions.

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.
The announcement and buzz around The Hate U Give immediately drew a lot of attention to this novel. It is not only a vital, important read but a timely one as well. I was eager to read it to see if could possibly live up to the buzz that was surrounding it, and it does. It also holds so much more than this between its pages.

The writing in this novel is so sharp, and reads as effortless. It is easy, at times, to forget that this is a debut novel. It has a polish that indicates the talent the author has to create a story you immediately fall into. You're pulled into Starr's story right from the beginning and your attention is held right to the very last word.

This story is achingly realistic. It is also gut wrenching. It packs a heavy emotional impact, and demands to be discussed. This is a novel that will prompt conversations and perhaps even change the narrative of those discussions. It's one that I recommend to everyone, but is vital reading for any black teen out there. It really is a game changer of a novel, and one that hopefully is the first of many to come.

Starr's voice is so vibrant that she easily leaps off the page. She is someone torn between what she sees as two versions of herself. The notion that she was one way at school, but another at home felt relatable in many ways, even if my personal experience could not possibly be on the level that Starr's was. I feel teenagers, in general, have that duality in varying degrees. Starr also read as nuanced, and realistic. She will easily be one of my favourite characters of 2017, simply because of how well crafted she is. Her character is also a fantastic portrayal of a scared young girl haunted by the horrific event she went through. Her fear, anger, sadness and frustration are all captured with precision. Her entire character is brilliantly written and I am so happy to have read her story.

The level of involvement of Starr's parents in the story was something unique to many of the young adult novels I've read previously. They are not only present, but accountable. Starr does not get away with doing anything. Her parents are aware of her actions, and react accordingly when she acts out the way teenagers tend to do. It was refreshing to see them be such a large part of the story, and that we spent time with the family throughout the entire story. These character details made the story resonate all the more, and feel achingly realistic. All of the side characters have their own storylines which adds a little something extra to the story. I felt like I really got to know each of them, and not just Starr.

The romance in this novel is really sweet. Chris and Starr's relationship is not perfect, but the fact that they love and support each other is never in question. They work through their problems in healthy ways. I appreciated that they called each other on things when they had hurt each other. I've read my share of unhealthy examples of relationships in young adult novels, and it was a delight to read one that is the opposite.

This novel is for every black teen that will see themselves in Starr. It is every black teen who will see themselves in any character within this book. It is for the entire black community who has had to live with this type of injustice time and time again. While this may not have been written for me, I am thankful to be able to experience this story and to have had the opportunity to read it. I also am glad to have the opportunity to encourage others to read it. I predict that this book will be one that is talked about long after people have finished and that it will make many Best Of lists at the end of the year. It announces Angie Thomas as a voice to watch in young adult literature and I cannot wait to read whatever she writes next.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't realize this book has romance too, that's awesome! It makes me want to read it even more :) Wonderful review, I'm so glad you loved this book!

    Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles


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