Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Book: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Published February 2017 by Balzer + Bray|464 pages

Where I Got It: I own the e-book

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty. Soon to be a major motion picture from Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions.

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 gangbanger. 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.

The Hate U Give was easily one of my most anticipated books of the year, and there was a lot of buzz surrounding the book.  I was really hesitant to read it- as much as I wanted to read it- because I was terrified it wouldn’t live up to all of the hype and my really high expectations.

Now I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to read it.

Because I loved this book, and it completely gutted me.  If you read one book this year, please make it this book.

I felt so much for Starr and Khalil and her neighborhood.  What Starr and Khalil went through…I will never experience, and I am grateful I don’t have to worry about getting shot at if I get pulled over by a cop.  The conversation her dad has with her about what to do if she gets pulled over?  That’s a conversation my mom and grandparents never needed to have with me, nor is it a conversation I will never need to have with my non-existent children.  However, I vaguely remember hearing that the police would help me, and that they’d protect me and keep me safe.

That is not the reality for Starr at all, and it makes me so unbelievably sad that not everyone is able to trust that the police will keep them safe.  That Khalil- and many others like him- are guilty until proven innocent, that Khalil, who was doing NOTHING wrong, is seen as trouble because of where he’s from.

It was such a hard book to put down, and even thinking about this book, I’m getting emotional.  The entire time I was reading this book, I couldn’t help but be reminded of everything that’s going on in America right now.  It very much reflects real life, and it felt very honest.

Yes, it reflects real life, but it is unforgettable and powerful, and an amazing story with amazing, nuanced characters. No one is stereotypical or one-dimensional, and each character is unforgettable.

I did want to talk about Hailey, one of Starr’s best friends.  I hated Hailey with a passion, and how she took part in a protest just to get out of class.  In general, I hated her classmates for using Khalil’s death to get out of class, and yet, it’s something I would expect from Starr’s classmates.  But most of all, the things Hailey said, and how she didn’t see anything wrong with making comments about fried chicken to Starr, or comments about eating cats to their other best friend Maya.  Hailey…she didn’t understand why Starr had such a problem with everything Hailey herself said about Khalil, and completely dismissed Starr’s feelings about it.  Yes, she’s 16 or 17, but that doesn’t dismiss it at all. She, very clearly, didn’t want to understand, and it was frustrating to see Hailey want to stay in her own little bubble of people like her.  It makes me wonder why they were all friends to begin with.

No words will describe how I feel about this book.  Just trust me when I say that if you haven’t read The Hate U Give, you really need to.

5 stars.  I loved this book so much, and it’s easily my favorite book of the year.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten 2017 Debuts I’m Excited For

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke And The Bookish.  Every week, bloggers share their own bookish top ten lists based on the topic of the week.  You can check out Ten Tuesdays here.

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Top Ten 2017 Debuts I’m Excited For

When I pick up books to read, I don’t always pay attention to when it was published or whether it’s a debut book. It is fun to look through the lists of books being published for the year, and these are the 2017 debuts I’m looking forward to reading.

  1. Caraval by Stephanie Garber.  It’s about this legendary, once-a-year show and it sounds really good!
  2. Gilded Cage by Vic James.  Gilded Cage is about aristocrats who have magic, and the commoners who serve them for 10 years.  It sounds like something I’d love, and while it does seem like a lot of similar books are out there right now, this one caught my attention.
  3. Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones.  It’s Goblins and sacrifice and I want to read it now!
  4. Wicked Like A Wildfire by Lana Popovic.  This book seems very magical, and there’s a lot of secrets to uncover.  I’m definitely intrigued.
  5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.  This book definitely caught my eye, and it’s inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.  I have the feeling it’s going to be heartbreaking to read, but I also have the feeling it will be worth it.
  6. American Street by Ibi Zoboi.  American Street looks so good!  It’s about a girl who immigrates to the U.S. from Haiti, and has to navigate a new place without her mother.  I’m definitely looking forward to reading it!
  7. Blood Rose Rebellion by Rosalyn Eves.  Just from the summary, I get a Red Queen vibe from the book.  I kind of get a similar vibe for Gilded Cage, but it’s not going to stop me from picking this book up!
  8. Frostblood by Elly Blake.  I’m getting a Hunger Games meets Red Queen vibe from the book, but I’m still intrigued by opposing magical abilities coming together to change everything.
  9. The Hidden Memory Of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato.  I’m looking forward to this book because it’s about a girl who can see memories attached to objects…and uses that ability to figure out what happened to her brother.
  10. The Color Project by Sierra Abrams.  I think why I’m looking forward to this book is because Bee doesn’t want to reveal her real name to someone she meets.  I don’t know why that got my attention, but it did.