Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
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“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.
I was provided a copy of this book by Walker Books Australia in exchange for an honest review – however, this is no way affects my thoughts!
While all books have the power to transcend time, there are some that you know are going to change the world. Books that have the ability to draw in the masses and deliver its messages with not only efficiency but a strong sense of heart as well. The Hate U Give is one of those books.
There were so many outstanding things about this book that it really is hard to find a place to start. But the thing that I loved the most? The fact that it was so, utterly unafraid. Unafraid to be unflinchingly honest. Unafraid to use its power to call out injustices. Unafraid to be a book that so many Black teens will be able to relate to. And unafraid to be nothing but itself.
Angie Thomas’ debut has cemented her as an incredibly talented storyteller and the seamless integration of fiction and reality, with characters that leap off the page, makes The Hate U Give a book that everyone should read. Starr was such a vibrant character and you bond with her a lot throughout the book – from being with her when she witnesses the death of Khalil, to watching her deal with the aftermath, you really grow to appreciate her strength and tenaciousness.
The thing about this book is that it constantly makes you pause and consider the real life impacts of the events that are occurring. Along with Starr, a strong attachment is also formed with the other characters introduced in the story, so much so that it feels like you are constantly holding your breath, just waiting for something to go wrong. But then, you step back from the fiction and realise that this fear, this constant wariness, is something that most Black families are currently feeling. The atmosphere is so hostile right now in the US and The Hate U Give is excellent in transcribing this onto the written page, as well as portraying the fear, anger and other emotions fueling the #BlackLivesMatter movement.
The discussion of familial relationships is something that I also really enjoyed about this book. I find myself saying this over and over again but so many YA books disregard the importance of family and parental figures or, worse, just show characters being hugely disrespectful towards them. As someone who was raised with a healthy amount of fear for her parents, it was nice to finally read a book where the main character has a strong relationship with her parents – yes, she loves them a lot but she also respects them.
Overall, The Hate U Give is both an important and hugely enjoyable read that you should definitely add to your TBR, if you haven’t already. It promises not only a roller coaster of emotion but also a great deal of education and reflection on the current state of the world.
Until next time,