Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Books I've Loved: The Hate U Give

This book has been talked about a lot this year, and now that I've read it, I know why.  It's terrifically important.  Everyone should read it.

The book deals with the shooting of a black boy by a white policeman in a crappy neighborhood.  Obviously this is a hot-button issue and one that has resulted in entire suburbs and towns torn apart by riots.

Starr, he protagonist in The Hate U Give comes from one of the poor suburbs.  Her dad is an ex-gang member who has been in prison.  He's out of that now, and he and her mother are determined their kids will have better opportunities.  So Starr and her siblings go to private school in a different suburb where they are among the only white people.

So Starr feels slightly removed from her neighborhood and the friends she had there as a child.  But not so removed that it isn't incredibly painful to see her best friend from childhood gunned down in front of her.

In the aftermath, Starr has to make some big decisions.  If she speaks out, she puts herself and her family at risk.  But if she doesn't, Khalil will go down in history as a drug dealer and thug, someone who deserved to die.

As she struggles to do the right thing for the people she cares about, Starr discovers the power of her own voice, strength to fight for the things she believes in and a way to reconcile the two worlds she's lived uncomfortably between.

Often violent and heartbreaking, this book is frighteningly real.  I live in a country where the police aren't even armed most of the time, so the fact a young kid can be gunned down so casually terrifies me.  Yet it happens every day, to kids who have done nothing wrong, by people who are so terrified of their own neighborhoods they shoot first and question why later.

I recommend this to everyone.  It is relevant, important and should be compulsory reading.  It might make you uncomfortable, but so it should.  Discomfort is the way to provoke change.

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.


  1. I've heard a lot of good things about it too, and definitely want to read it sometime. Your review just kind of confirms it :)

  2. It's a little odd that the book in effect takes away the victim's voice and is about the reaction to the event anyone could've had. That's how I view it, anyway. But I'm always looking for that inside angle.

  3. Seems like a great read, I will look out for it, thanks for sharing!