Book Review | Rating – 4/5 | Genre – Young Adult
Now that I’ve got back into reading after a good month-ish off I thought I’d make a proper attempt at buying books I’ve wanted to read for a while. This brought me to The Hate U Give, I’ve wanted to read this book for about a year or so after seeing great things about it all over instagram and Twitter. So here is what I thought…
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. (Synopsis from Goodreads)
What did I think?
As I’ve said, this book has been on my “to read” list for a long time now, and with the Black Lives Matter movement once again having to draw attention to the attrocities that we see on the news I thought now was the best time to be reading up and seeing how this would cause ramifications on a more personal level. Thats exactly what this book was able to do – it was able to showcase the horrors that African-American’s go through at the hands of the police.
I was already aware of what the book was going to portray, but I wasn’t prepared for how intense and horrific it would get. This definitely isn’t a bad thing, from the very beginning you’re able to see just how much police brutality affects the lives of people of colour. It doesn’t shy away from gritty topics and handles the overall issue very much embedded in reality and truth.
The only downside was that this book is still very much a young adult novel; there are moments that are slightly cringey, like when they talk about Tumblr or boybands. But this doesn’t ever take away from the overall message.
- Real characters – when it comes to how Angie Thomas captures the feelings each character deals with Khalil’s death she hits the nail on the head. Of course, you have Starr’s PTSD as she attempts to come to terms with what she witnessed, as well as trying to decide whether to speak out or not. But there is also her friends; they are all aware of what is going on but don’t feel the need to dwel on it, and then there is her white friends – some of whom entirely believe Khalil deserved death and even say racist things, all portrayed without belittling just how offensive the comments are.
- Heartbreakingly honest – throughout the book you see Starr struggle to understand what happened, and then see how the media and police twist Khalil’s death into something good. This is something we see all the time, sat here in England, seeing what happens in America, it is apparently obvious when words like “thug” or “drug dealer” are used as a demented way to excuse the killing of another black man or woman. This is something that never ends in the book, constantly reappearing with other accounts of Khalil’s personality.
I would recommend anyone give this book a read, it gives an honest account of polic brutality and remains as relevent now as it did when it was first published. The messages that appear throughout are important and help anyone understand just what POC are going through across the world.