The Hate U Give Book Review:
The Hate U Give was published earlier this year (February 2017) by Angie Thomas. It is a fiction book about a teenage, African American girl (Starr) who is somewhat forced into becoming an activist after witnessing her friend get killed by a White police officer after leaving a party. The story follows Starr’s reactions and experiences after her friend’s death – but Starr didn’t want her friend to just become a hashtag, she wanted and eventually made her friend’s life matter.
This book also tackles something that some Black Americans do every single day – code-switching. For those of you don’t know what it is, code-switching is defined as the practice of alternating between two or more languages or varieties of language in conversation. But in the Black community, I believe it’s a lot deeper than language, it includes mannerisms, tone, behaviors and more. (See this very interesting Ted Talk about The Costs of Code Switching – here. ) So with that being said, this was the first book I’ve ever read that accurately portrays this “code-switching” as a Black teenager. Starr has to balance how she behaves (and ultimately how she wants to be perceived) at her predominately White prep school with her “poor, Black” neighborhood and upbringing. In the book, she struggles with keeping her two worlds separate. I remember literally living in this world (and still living in it if I’m being honest) so it was super relate-able for me.
This book is labeled as a Young Adult book, but really you should ignore that label – this is literally a book for ALL ages (well, maybe not too young because the book conquers some heavy themes that an 8 year old might not be able to handle). I believe that this book was very well written with a lot of character development. I really enjoy the style the book was written, entirely first person and revealing Starr’s inner thoughts. I also really enjoyed how the author moved time in the story – often times, I find with young adult books that the entire story took place in basically a few days which to me is too short of time to cram everything in. One of the main things that really gripped me about this book was its literally about what’s going on in America today, not a few days or years ago, literally today, right now. This book echos the messages of the Black Lives Matter movement and honestly gives a voice to so many people that experience the effects of police brutality in a way that was utterly unforgettable.
This book hit me in ways that I was not expecting. It made me confront my own feelings about my dear friend’s death (If you really wanna know about that – click this link here.). Many times Starr is riddled with the guilt of not being able to save her friend, I literally felt it. I don’t know if I was really feeling these things because the author did amazing job writing it or because I still have some unresolved hurt and issues surrounding my friend’s death. Either way, this is a book you are going to feel deep in your heart. I would honestly just grab some popcorn, warm blankets, tissues (just in case) and maybe some wine if you’re of age and spend a day reading this book. It changed me… and hopefully it will change you too. I recommend this book to literally everyone! and I give it a 5/5 Stars! 🙂
What books are you currently reading – share below in the comments (I’m always looking for new books to read!!)
– Tanesha Renae