Thomas, Angie. The Hate U Give. Balzer + Bray, 2017.
image from: angiethomas.com/books
Summary (from angiethomas.com/books)
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter navigates between the poverty-stricken neighborhood she has grown up in and the upper-crust suburban prep school she attends. Her life is up-ended when she is the sole witness to a police officer shooting her best friend, Khalil, who turns out to have been unarmed during the confrontation – but may or may not have been a drug dealer. As Starr finds herself even more torn between the two vastly different worlds she inhabits, she also has to contend with speaking her truth and, in the process, trying to stay alive herself.
When I first started hearing about this book, the plot synopsis did not appeal to me. I just didn't think I needed this book in my conservative, rural library. However, after hearing Angie Thomas at NTTBF17 discuss this book (and even read a bit from it!), I was glad I ordered it. As soon as it arrived in my library, I checked it out to read. I was not disappointed. This is not a fluffy read due to language and violence, which is part of what makes the story believable. The characters make the story relevant.
The title reference is on page 17 (which I didn't "see" until it was pointed out to me). There are pop culture references too, like the use of Tumblr.
The book is divided into five parts. I wasn't sure I wanted to finish the book because I didn't know how I'd react to the outcome of the trial. I hoped that Thomas would make it end "happily ever after," but I also knew I didn't want her to manipulate the story to make that happen. I honestly wasn't sure how it would go.
I felt for Starr when she said realizes that what she thought she's do in a situation turns out to be the opposite of what she does. "I always said that if I saw it [a black person getting killed just for being black] happen to somebody, I would have the loudest voice, making sure the world knew what went down. Now I am that person, and I'm too afraid to speak" (Thomas 35). Starr had to find her voice and use it as her most powerful weapon.
There is humor in this book. For example, Starr's dad, a former gang member,--it's explained how he got out of "the life"--claims Harry Potter is about gang theory. He makes good points. Some of Starr's descriptions of her neighbors are hilarious. Her neighbors also made me think about how communities come together at times. The description of herself at school versus the Garden Heights neighborhood Starr are funny (and realistic).
I thought it was ironic that I read this book the week of prom because there is prom episode in Starr's story.
This book made me think about a lot of things---which is what I think it is supposed to do. We often prejudge a person, situation, even a story line. As I read, I would catch myself thinking about my own comments, thoughts, and even actions (or lack of action) of "real life."
The story has good timing and didn't feel like it was over 400 pages (Yes, it's 444!).
Some quotations from the book:
Hailey & Starr "rode the waves of grief together" (Thomas 79).
"Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right" (Thomas 154).
"Somebody's going to turn Mr. Lewis into a meme. He's making a fool out of himself and doesn't even know it" (Thomas 189).
"You have to decide if their mistakes are bigger than your love for them" (Thomas 264).