The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Published March 1, 2017 by Walker Books Australia
Source: the publisher
Rating: 5 stars
From the blurb: Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.
The Hate U Give is Angie Thomas' debut novel. Set in the fictional suburb of Garden Heights, sixteen year old Starr Carter lives with her mum, dad, younger brother, and her older half-brother. At age ten she saw her best friend killed in a drive-by shooting and not long after that her parents decided to send the kids to Williamson Prep, a private school in another suburb. Now, after attending a party, she is the witness to another murder, this time at the hands of a police officer. Starr must walk the line between protecting herself and her family, and speaking up for justice.
Believe the hype. The Hate U Give is every bit as good as you've heard. What's even more impressive is that this is a debut novel. It needs to be in the hands of all teens, and adults, too.
At the heart of this story is Starr. A girl who feels as though she needs two personalities. She has to be black enough for Garden Heights, but she has to watch how black she is at school. She never wants to give her white classmates or teachers a reason to think of her as the angry black girl. She's been raised to watch herself around police, she knows to keep her hands in sight and not to make sudden movements. She struggles with switching between her two worlds and doesn't want them to ever collide.
The focus on family and community was heartwarming. Starr's got the support of an amazing extended family, and she's been raised to value her community and neighbourhood. It was great to read a story where the parents are involved the whole way through, and a story that depicted an open relationship where communication was valued.
I feel as though the alternative title for this book could have been "How do you solve a problem like America?" Where do you even begin to try and fix things? How can you change the minds of people who are racist? How do you stop the police force and judicial system from treating minorities unfairly? You start with sharing stories like this one. This story is heartbreaking and all too true. It's hard enough being a teenage girl, without also having to worry about being shot just for being black. Teens shouldn't have to see their friends murdered, let alone by police who should be protecting them. Starr's PTSD and fear after the murder was so palpable and she coped with it all amazingly. Her story is something to get people to face up to what's happening, to listen, and to show support.
Ableist language: crazy, lame, idiot, fool, dumb.
The Hate U Give is a story that needs to be read by everyone. It's a story of family, loyalty, and standing up for what is right.
Thank you to Walker Books for my copy.
Cover illustration: Debra Cartwright
Cover design: Jenna Stempel
I love that the UK/Australian edition put a black girl on the cover because this is something that publishers used to avoid, but it's not really the most eye-catching of cover designs. The American edition is a lot more iconic and memorable, so I decided to do nails inspired by it and the story.
Starr loves sneakers and she's an excellent basketball player so I painted a couple of nails with Nikes and basketballs. Tupac is also mentioned often throughout the story, so I did nails inspired by the bandana he was so often photographed wearing.