YA Contemporary Book Reviews

The Hate U Give

WOW. I’ve seen so much talk about this book and I was fearful that it wouldn’t live up to the hype but how wrong I was to worry. The Hate U Give is absolutely astounding and is one of the best debut novels I’ve read in a long time. This is such a great book about the teen experience in America and covers an extremely wide range of topics – the black lives matter movement, police brutality, racism of all kinds, activism, gang violence, drug abuse, interracial dating, consent, infidelity, relationship violence, blended families, the duality between the hood and suburban life, the list goes on and on.

The story starts with Starr witnessing the shooting of a childhood friend, Khalil, who was a drug dealer and a little bit of a THUG. The book challenges the reader’s perception of the “thugs” that we hear about every day in the media and reminds us that most are unarmed victims in shootings. It was startlingly honest about the way in which gangs can be so pervasive in disenfranchised communities, and how often young men just trying to survive find themselves trapped time and time again with little choice if they want to keep food on the table.

“I’ve seen it happen over and over again: a black person gets killed just for being black, and all hell breaks loose. I’ve Tweeted RIP hashtags, reblogged pictures on Tumblr, and signed every petition out there. I always said that if I saw it 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.”

Many of the characters in the book are morally grey, most were simply good people who maybe do some very bad things. Here’s the thing though, just because a person does some bad things, does that mean they’re all bad, rotten to the core? Does that mean that their lives matter any less than anyone else’s? Is there hope for redemption, for an escape from the suffocating grasp of a society that has turned it’s back on the young people that need understanding and help the most? This is the crux of the dialogue that The Hate U Give brings to the table and it is unflinching in it’s honesty.

I also appreciated that the book recognized that reverse racism and prejudice against miscegenation does exist to a degree in certain groups. People from the Garden pass judgment on Starr for having a white boyfriend, and his whiteness is brought up quite a bit with folks initially rejecting him. Starr feels the need to hide her relationship with him to avoid stepping on toes and it is so incredibly true to life and really showed that racism is a complex and multi-layered beast.

I loved The Hate U Give, it is both hopeful and heartbreaking and I haven’t sobbed so much reading a book in a long time. If you haven’t read the book yet I strongly urge you to do so, and if not the book then at least consider watching the upcoming film adaptation. It is an important story that is so relevant to the current times and is the kind of story that we as a society need right now.

Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: February 28, 2017
Pages: 464
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library

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, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. 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 upend her community. It could also endanger her life.b


  1. Yayyy so glad you also loved this one! It is SO worthy of all the hype and also tells such an important story that I’m so so glad has changed the world so much even though it’s not even been out a full year yet! So in awe of this book ahh!

    1. Totally agreed! I’m excited for the film adaptation so that more people can know this story!!

  2. Evelina

    I think this is the best THUG review I’ve ever read. You go girl.

    1. Thank you Evelina! <3 It took me a long time to write a review for this one because there was just so much to unpack from it. I love highlighting themes in novels and THUG just had so much to think about!

  3. I am reading this with a book club in May of this year, so I haven’t picked it up yet. But I couldn’t be more excited. It sounds AWESOME. I have recently started to read more BLM books. All-American Boys really caught my eye. Have you heard of it?

    I didn’t know they were making a film adaption!!! Where have I been?! I must read this book before I see the film, at least.
    Jackie B. recently posted…#AnneReadAlong2017 : Rilla of InglesideMy Profile

    1. Definitely read it before the film, and what a great book club pick! I hope you enjoy the book and can’t wait to read what you thought of it!

      I hadn’t heard of All-American Boys but just read the synopsis and WOW how did I miss this book!? Definitely adding it to my TBR and gonna try to find it at my library, thank you for the suggestion!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge