Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I was lucky enough to win an ARC on twitter of this phenomenal book. Seriously, 5 stars, hands down. If this is Thomas’s first book, I can’t wait to see what she has in store for readers next. I read this book in one day (we had a snow day) but I found myself putting it down to cry, to think, to process every twenty or fifty pages.
This book centers around Starr Carter, who goes to a prep school but lives in a neighborhood with a less-than-desirable school. Her parents, a shop owner and a nurse, look out for her and her brothers and their extended family lives close by, too: uncles, aunts, a grandmother. This is a family I would love to be part of: they celebrate birthdays and holidays together, they joke around with each other, tease each other, but will always be there for any family member in need. In the first thirty pages, Starr finds herself in a situation that becomes much larger than herself. She becomes witness to a crime and has to find strength within herself to stand up for justice–for her childhood friend and for an entire movement.
This book is powerful for many reasons. The content is obviously an important topic. We can see the Black Lives Matter movement from within, from a reluctant participant who fears for herself and her family. But the real power in this novel is the way Angie Thomas creates her characters. The verisimilitude with which she crafts her teenagers is impressive. Starr sounds like a teenager, acts like a teenager, and makes me want to just give her a hug. She loves old reruns of Fresh Prince of Bel Air, she’s meticulous about her kicks, and she worries about her boyfriend, her teammates, and her friends. She’s so real, and that is what gives this novel power. She’s complex–this is no carbon copy character–and that complexity gives the novel the depth readers crave. I want more stories about Starr. I want to know if she keeps up with her blog, or if she finds a different venue to share with the world about Khalil. I want to know how the rest of her family fares, how DeVante does after the end of the book, and where she might decide to go to college.
The point here is that Angie Thomas created Starr, and Starr reads like a real girl with real struggles and real triumphs–and that alone is a triumph in fiction these days. So when it comes out on February 28 in a few weeks, do yourself a favor, and pick up a copy. Just don’t forget to buy some tissues, too.