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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was released in February of this year. After hearing a little bit of buzz about this book, I finally picked it up at the end of the summer. I am so glad I did. The Hate U Give proved to be one of those books that has really stuck with me. Honestly, there is not a day that has gone by since I finished it that I have not thought about this book.
The Hate U Give tells the story of Starr Carter. Starr is an African American teenager that is attempting to traverse life split between the black neighborhood that she lives in and the private white school that she attends. There is a clear difference between her two worlds. As if things weren’t difficult enough, a violent shooting breaks up the party she is at late one night. As she and her friend Khalil flee the scene, they are pulled over by a white police officer. Things begin to escalate for Starr when she becomes the only witness to Khalil’s death after he is shot by the officer.
Starr must then navigate a tricky position. Both sides just want to know what really happened that night and unfortunately, only Starr knows. As the only witness, she must make the decision whether she will come forward and testify in the trial or keep the information to herself. Starr is torn between wanting justice for Khalil and wanting to keep her identity as the witness to the crime a secret.
This book is so timely and important because of the commentary that it provides on the social, political, and racial climate in America right now. I feel like this is one of those books that everyone should read a least once in their lives. Angie Thomas does such a wonderful job of portraying the often opposite experiences of whites and blacks in America. This book not only provides valuable commentary on the current climate of racial tensions but it also tackles the differences between middle class communities and poverty-stricken urban neighborhoods.
As a high school English teacher, I take the time weekly to talk to my students about books that I have read recently and recommend books to them that I think they would enjoy. When I discussed The Hate U Give with my classes, I was blown away by the response. Students were clamoring at my classroom door to be the first one to borrow it from me. I currently have a lengthy waiting list for students who can’t wait to get their hands on this book. Considering that I teach in a predominantly white, rural school, this gives me such hope for the youth of our country. Their desire to read this book and discuss these issues with me tells me that these sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen year old kids are concerned with what is happening in our country and hopefully, they will mature into adults who are willing to recognize the plights of those around them and work to end racism and inequality in this country.
I found this book to be so thoughtful, brutally honest, and raw. I was emotionally involved from the very first page and flew through this book. This is such an important book. Definitely a five star book that is worth all of the hype it has received since its February publication! Run out and grab a copy of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas! I promise you won’t regret it!