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 gan
gbanger. 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.
“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”
So honestly, at this point, I have a feeling that I was the only person left on this planet who hadn’t read this book yet. I mean, it’s not my fault–I was waiting for something like three months for the 30 holds ahead of me at the library for it to finally be my turn!!! And oh WOW it was SO WORTH THE WAIT this book is AMAZING. So, to the teeny tiny itsy bitsy percentage of people living under a rock who still haven’t read this book: READ IT. Honestly, if you read just one book this year, make it this one.
The Hate U Give is an incredible novel about Black Lives Matter. It does not sugarcoat. In any way. It portrays the world just the way it is. And the fact that this book is so raw and so honest makes it just remarkable–it just absolutely blew me away.
Starr was the only witness around when her unarmed childhood friend, a black boy, was shot an killed by a white police officer. In that instant, her whole life changes. Speaking up is frightening, but she just might have to do something, or else do nothing and the whole cruel vicious cycle continues. Starr doesn’t want to speak up, she doesn’t want to become an activist–but sometimes life is cruel and forces people to grow up too quickly.
The Hate U Gives is honestly the type of book that I can see being a classic, and being assigned for school reading a few years down the line when it’s a little older. It’s definitely something that I think everyone should read and be aware of. Things like this are happening in America, and you can’t just ignore them, and live in your own bubble. Things like these are the things that really matter. I can also see this book being challenged–and I’m pretty sure that, sadly, it’s already banned in some parts of the country–but in my eyes, that’s all the more reason to read it. You can’t just live in some sterile world where you only look at the good, PC things.
Starr experiences some incredible character growth in this book. She kind of has to, with the situation she’s thrown into. It’s so amazing and remarkable to see her grow. It’s a little sad that this is what she’s forced to do, but she ultimately becomes such a strong, amazing character. And I definitely think that I changed reading this book too. It definitely changed how I see the Black Lives Matter movement, and how I see the world.
One thing I was worried about going into this book was “reverse racism,” or discrimination against white people, which I’d read was there in a couple of reviews. I actually live in an area that is not predominately white–I think my high school is only around 30% white or so–and I would say that I’ve experienced a bit of discrimination and people assuming things about me because I’m part white, so I was worried about that. I shouldn’t have worried.
I think the passage some reviewers are worried about was concerning Starr and her white boyfriend, thinking that because he is white he can’t understand what she’s going through, and that maybe she shouldn’t even be dating him. But I think the book actually would not have been complete without this. Maybe if Starr just broke up with her boyfriend because he was white, I would be a little upset, but instead, she got to have a good conversation, and question their relationship, and if they can even last because of the cultural differences between them. This is so important, and such a healthy portrayal of interracial dating. If you are dating someone with a different ethnicity or culture than you, you’re going to have this conversation, these questions. You’re going to have differences. The important thing is to get past them. As someone biracial, I believe this was a strikingly honest and amazing portrayal of a interracial relationship.
Another thing I heard was that this book is anti police, and again, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Starr’s uncle is a police officer, and he’s shown to be an incredible, amazing person, one of the people Starr looks up to most in her life. On the flip side, the white police officer who shot Starr’s best friend is not a good person, and he’s portrayed as such.
The fact of the matter is that black people are getting disproportionately targeted by police officers, and you can not ignore that. Not all police officers are bad. Not by a long shot. The vast majority of police officers are good, amazing, wonderful people. They protect us, and endanger their lives for us, the members of society. But some of them are not like that–some of them are racists with too much power. I think this book does an amazing job of juxtaposing Starr’s uncle, a police officer, with the other police offer to show both the good and the bad. Like just about everything in this world, police are not all bad or all good, and the author does an incredible job of showing that.
Finally, this book showed some so, so, so amazing relationships that I absolutely adored. If nothing else (and there’s definitely a lot else amazing) I would read this book for those relationships. There’s the relationship between Starr and her parents, especially her dad, and between her uncle and her, another father figure. Then there’s Starr and her brothers, and how much they look out for each other. Then there’s Starr and her friends, both her white (and Asian!) friends, and her black friends. Seeing Starr have so many amazing people in her life is so incredible, because I hate how so many books seem to gloss over platonic relationships.
Anyways, I feel like there’s not much else I can say for this book that the whole world that’s already read it hasn’t already said. Bottom line: It’s amazing and you HAVE to read it. At the end of the day, a lot of crap doesn’t matter. But living in America in 2018, THIS matters.