I can see this book in decades being required reading in schools. I can see multiple editions—special editions, anniversary editions, movie tie-in editions, and hell, maybe even a graphic novel—being released. I can see this book being read by my generation and passed on to the next generation, and then the next. I can see this book lasting, not because it’s timeless (hopefully the struggles addressed in THUG will be no more, as Starr prophesied), but because it’s a flashpoint in American history that shouldn’t be forgotten even if it’s rectified. Angie Thomas’ debut is the kind of transformative and accessible novel that can touch a variety of readers and have long-lasting effects.
Why do I feel this way? What do I love about this book? Every fucking thing. But let me try to be more specific. I love the writing, which is brilliant and absolutely genuine. I love the characters, who are phenomenal and so real. I love the characters’ dynamics as well, which I think is the shining point of the novel. They’re vigorous and honest, Angie Thomas’ words giving them breath, blood, and life.
If you’ve read the blurb, then you know the Black Lives Matter movement inspires this novel. But, The Hate U Give isn’t about a movement. It’s about black lives living, and about black lives loving, and about black lives pursuing happiness and deserving freedom—just like everyone. This novel’s protagonist is sixteen years old, and she lives without an ulterior motive or agenda. Starr is just a girl who experienced a horrific tragedy, and the novel follows her journey through her grief and self-actualizations. I love Starr. I love this book.
It begins with the shooting of Khalil on chapter two. It’s harrowing and devastating, but not shocking for anyone who has been paying attention. Experiencing the effects of that moment from Starr’s perspective is gut wrenching, although, I can foresee some readers feeling numb. Starr goes trough all the stages in a visceral outpouring of grief. Her rage over her friend’s murder is the emotion that steals the show, never leading to traditional acceptance.
Angie Thomas is so damn talented and smart, I’m jealous.
I had so many expectations going into this book, but mainly, I was nervous. I mean, with all the hype it’s impossible not to go into this book with some expectation and my greatest fear regarding THUG was that it would piss me off. I expected the subject matter would be intense and that there would be some moments when I’d want to punch a wall. There were those moments when I was heated–intensely emotional, very angry and also immensely sad.
But, what surprised me most about this book, and why I love it so much, and why I am going to recommend it to all the people, is that it is beyond multidimensional and multifaceted. Honestly, I experienced the gamut of emotions; I mean every single one. Let’s get all the clichés out there: There were moments when I cried, obviously, and there were moments when I raged also obviously. Also there were so many times when I felt light and joyful, and not just hopeful, but plain happy.
There are a lot of scenes, especially the ones with Starr’s family that made me feel practically effervescent, which was made more memorable because they were just so alive in the midst of all the harshness of their reality. As I said, Angie Thomas is so fucking talented that I can’t stand it. She layered this book with every feeling. I know I’m going on, ad nauseam, but this novel moved me.
If you’re planning on reading this then move it up your list! If you’re hesitant about it, for whatever reason, then please take a chance on this book. I am urging you, no, begging you to give Starr a chance, because her story deserves to be told.
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, Khalil’s death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Starr’s best friend at school suggests he may have had it coming. When it becomes clear the police have little interest in investigating the incident, protesters take to the streets and Starr’s neighborhood becomes a war zone. 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 destroy her community. It could also endanger her life.