By Angie Thomas
Review by Rachel Mitchell
The Hate U Give is a young adult novel written by Angie Thomas. Angie Thomas is an African American writer from the Jackson, Mississippi area. This book was published in 2017 by HarperCollins and ever since it hit the shelves it has been highly approved by many but also banned by some. The book has also been made into a movie and a prequel to the book is in the works. The Hate U Give is about a 16-year-old girl named Starr. She was poor into a poorer neighborhood but is being brought up in a nicer neighborhood and attends a good school. When she visits her old neighborhood, she witness’ her unarmed best friend get shot by a police officer. The story follows her fight for justice and the balance and persona’s she has to maintain between these two places.
This work has received 5 different awards including Goodreads Choice for Best of the Best in 2018. This work has also stayed in the Top 10 New York Times Bestsellers List for Young Adult Novels for 163 weeks (and counting). That means since it has been published it has been a top 10 contender. This goes to show the power and reception of the novel. This is a must-read book because of the raw insight it gives to a young black girl living in contemporary America. It is a good read for anyone and has dynamic characters that don’t all follow stereotypes.
This book has many key points that make it literary worthy. It doesn’t try to make you see one side of the things or another. It shows all the different sides to how communities react to certain events. Possibly one of the most powerful quotes comes from chapter 9 “Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right” (Thomas 154). Readers of all ages are given the truth and how hard it can be sometimes. The best thing to do isn’t always easy. One other over arching theme that really makes this book a must read is that it shows what bad neighborhoods look like and the reality of how the world treats people from those areas. There was a shooting of an unarmed boy and it seems like no one cares and they try to twist the story to make the cop seem like a hero. The reality that this book poses to the reader is one that people don’t want to admit to. But Thomas lays it right out for them and doesn’t give them much of an option but to acknowledge it.
This book to me is perfect for leisure reading or to be taught in a classroom. This book gives a voice to people who normally get pushed aside or swept under the rug. Young black kids can possibly identify themselves within this story and make a connection. This book is filled with racial tension from the cops and the community to interracial relationships. It shows the good, bad and ugly or it all. This book also shows what it is like to go against being silent when that is easier. Starr believes in getting justice for her friend’s murder, no matter the cost. It shows readers that even when things are hard and scary you can still stand up and fight for what is right. I think this is such an important theme, finding your voice is important and crucial. For a classroom I think students could really get into it since it’s not a “boring classic”. It is more relevant to them and the people around them. As for leisure reading it is one of the few books, I’ve read more than once and still give it 5 stars. It is paving the way for more real and open conversation without hiding behind a ton of metaphors and abstract meanings.
Below are some resources if you’d like to learn more about the author and book.
This resource is an NPR interview with the author Angie Thomas.
If you liked The Hate U Give here is a link to the Goodreads summary of the prequel. It follows Starr’s dad; Concrete Rose is available now! https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/52822210
If you are interested in teaching The Hate U Give here is guide with more resources and guiding instructions.
Thomas, Angie. The Hate u Give. Walker Books, 2017.