“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”
Quick fire review:
I’m still trying to collect my thoughts about what I just read but I do know this, The Hate U Give may be one of the most important books you ever read.
It certainly is one of the best books to ever grace my life.
“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”
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.
5 out of 5 stars
I listened to this via Audible
Chances are you’ve either read this book or it is on your radar because it is everywhere…and rightly so. The Hate U Give is by far one of the sharpest, wittiest, informative and completely raw stories I have ever read. Author Angie Thomas has done a fantastic job of crafting an array of complex characters and highlighting how the rash actions of one can bleed through not only a community, but a nation.
“At an early age I learned that people make mistakes, and you have to decide if their mistakes are bigger than your love for them.”
This was a completely confronting reality check for me and it broke my fucking heart.
I absolutely adored this book and can find no flaws. This eye opening story follows 16 year old Starr who witnesses first hand the murder of her friend; white cop kills unarmed black teen. It is a story that has become all too familiar in today’s society and I applaud Thomas for having the heart to write such a moving and raw story.
Starr is a smart, kind and loving lead who is forced to live in a ‘new normal’ after witnessing the death of Khalil. After everything she goes through, you almost forget that she is just 16, that is until the mentions of Harry Potter, Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Tumblr permeate her narrative. After all, at its core this is a story about two kids and one fateful night.
It was strangely beautiful to go on this journey with her as she deals with the emotional fallout, the changes in her community and on top of that, trying to be a teen. I really enjoyed seeing the weeks after Khalil’s death played out through Starr’s eyes. It was a heart-wrenching journey for sure but it is the level of emotion and the internal monologues that bring so much life to the aftermath. To witness first hand the way she views police brutality and the love and respect she has for her family is what also makes this book great.
“Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means you go on even though you’re scared.”
I don’t want to spoil anything, but there are two parts that I found really hard to listen to: one, when Starr recites all the things her parents told her to do if she was ever pulled over by a cop (move slowly. keep hands visible etc.) and two, when she has a panic attack after seeing her white boyfriend who in that moment, reminds her of the cop who shot Khalil. These two moments, amongst others, set in stone the reality of what it must be like to exist in not only a world where you have to fear the police, but also deal with the aftermath of such a terrible crime.
Before I wrap up, I just what to give a special mention to all of the sub-characters. Even though some of them are straight up assholes, everyone in this book felt very real and fit perfectly into this little world. I love that Starr has such a fantastic relationship with her immediate and extended family and think Thomas did a great job of populating her life with a nice array of personalities. Everyone served Starr’s journey and I am so happy I get to meet them, even for a minute.
If you don’t mind reading a book at a slower pace, look at picking up the audiobook. The narrator infuses so much life into all the characters and sets the perfect tone for this confronting and heartbreaking story.
Highly recommend to everyone. Seriously, everyone.