Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Genre: Teen Fiction
Published February 28th, 2017 by Balzer + Bray
21 years after his death Tupac Shakur’s message is still relevant to urban America, T.H.U.G.L.I.F.E. the Hate you give little infants F…’s Everybody. Angie Thomas Debut Novel isn’t the first time I’ve heard that phrase but, somehow Angie Thomas managed to paint a complete and vivid portrait embodying the meaning behind the message in her Debut Novel, The Hate U Give.
The Hate you give is a first-person POV novel told through the protagonist Starr Carter. Starr is a 17-year-old black girl living in a poor Urban Neighborhood known as Garden heights. The book begins following Starr as she struggles with balancing her identities. She’s finding it hard to cope with balancing her persona from her home life and the persona she’s created to cope with life at Williamson Prep the private suburban school she attends where she’s one of two black kids attending. She often feels uncomfortable being herself, she’s afraid of being labeled the angry, or sassy black girl. She uncomfortable showing them the real Starr.
Things take a turn early on when Starr witnesses the Murder of her unarmed friend Khalil by a police officer. As if being a teenage girl living in two worlds isn’t enough Starr now has to deal with the emotional backlash of this horrific event. As the book goes on Starr struggles with finding her voice; putting the comfort of others before her own trying to be the Starr that everyone else is comfortable with . She draws a line between Garden Heights Starr and Williamson Prep Starr.
Starr eventually with the help of the supporting character figures out who she is and what she wants to say. Finding the courage to speak up and do the right thing when it’s easier and safer to be silent.
Although Starr is the main character, many of the supporting characters play an incredibly important role in bringing Thomas’ tale to life. Several characters go through trials, tribulations, and self-discovery; while finding their voices. Or seeing things that were right in front of them that they never noticed.
The Hate U give asks tough questions and answers with the sad, unfair yet true reality of urban life. Questions like: why do minorities turn to crime? Why are people of color afraid of the police? How do the police handle minorities? How do some white people, react when you’re no longer the “token” black person when the truth of your blackness collides with their world of happy denial, prejudice, and racism.
One of the many things Thomas did well was showing both sides of the coin as far as white privilege. She shows acceptance and understanding, as well as the complete refusal to acknowledge that the adversities exist. The Hate you give isn’t about blame, but it is about the black reality.
Angie Thomas rips off the rose-colored glasses and stomps them, HARD crushing the lenses beneath her heel! The Hate U Give is a powerful, emotionally evocative tale about the political climate and societal injustices of the last MANY years as well as the PRESENT. This book is a prime example of the necessity of own voices books; no story can be as evocative to the target audience as one written by someone from the same demographic, whose experiences are similar. Someone from the outside looking in can only interpret things through the scope of their own experiences.
Angie Thomas has managed to thoroughly portray the struggles of minority life, urban Living and just frankly growing up black. She’s done it without writing your cliché Urban fiction novel about a drug-dealing gang banger glorifying the rough side of urban living (not that I have anything against those, they are highly entertaining. But cliché nonetheless). The Hate U Give, told through the scope of someone whose experiences are of such a striking similarity to mine its almost scary. The cultural references alone are enough to make me want to laugh and cry at the same time. Its obvious Angie Thomas didn’t dream this she lived it and wrote her truth in this fiction.
The Hate U Give was so evocative a few pages in the movie Just Another Girl on the I.R.T popped into my head. If you’ve never seen this movie, it’s a highly underrated powerfully evocated tale of a teenage girl from Brooklyn trying to survive urban life, finish high school, and make something more of herself. If you’ve never seen it, you can stream it on Google Play, Amazon, iTunes, etc.
The Hate U Give is a road map of urban life, written in terms that anybody SHOULD be able to understand. A vivid and detailed portrayal of urban life and the pitfalls that some fall into as well as the oppressive and socioeconomic devices used to push the underprivileged over the ledge and keep them there.
Overall the book was well written and entertaining, the characterization was excellent. The pacing and dialogue were great. The message of the book isn’t a new argument, but it is a well thought out and entertaining version.
The Hate U Give is marketed under the teen fiction Genre, but its a book Everyone should read.
I loved everything about this book. I cried at the end.