Thursday, April 20, 2017

Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Year Published: 2017


Genre: YA Fiction
Pages: 243
Rating: 5 out of 5

Location (my 2017 Google Reading map)USA

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money


Summary (from the inside flap of the book): Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor black 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.

Review: Talk about a timely book and storyline! And it is so well done, I was swept up in Starr's story (and that of her neighborhood) from the start.

It's funny, I am so into geography that I really like to know where books take place, but while this book names the areas, the state is never mentioned. By the end I realized that didn't matter because it could have taken place anywhere, in a major city where African-Americans live in the city projects and the suburbs are safer and have better schools. Sadly, that is all of our larger and smaller cities.

The characters in this book come alive from page one; they are strong, interesting, and real. Starr's mother is educated and a nurse, but her father is an ex-con who is now has his act together. In fact, he is still connected in many ways to the gangs and violence in the area. They want what's best for their children, but also for the neighborhood, a tension in their lives that continues throughout the book. Does leaving the "hood" mean you're turning your back on your people or are you doing what's best for your family?

This book reflects the events that have taken place over the past few years in this country: an unarmed black man is killed by a white police officer. How does that event affect the police, the victim's friends and family, and in turn, a neighborhood? To read about it up close and not just in the newspaper is powerful. Angie Thomas' voice is clear and strong, showing all sides of the issue, and is a voice that needs to be heard.

Challenges for which this counts:

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