The Hate U Give Book Review

Image result for the hate u give bookThe 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!!)

XOXO,

– Tanesha Renae

Dear Ready for Love?

Dear ladies and company, so I am in my senior year of my senior year of college and I have never been on a date. I really want to you know start mingling with men in my age group or even a little older because I think I am ready for a relationship. I’m not exactly sure where to begin with the dating game. I want to be wowed and treated like a queen, however, what I’m seeing now in the dating game is like boys running games on girls running games on guys it is just not OK! So, how do I start dating without compromising my standards? – Ready for Love?

Dear Ready For Love,

First, it is really good that you have realized that you’re at the point of being ready to date. So many young ladies these days are just jumping into the dating world without being ready. First I would set your boundaries out. What are you willing, and unwilling to accept while dating? Maybe you want him to pay for the first date, but are willing to compromise and go dutch on dates 2-3. Also, I would figure out what you really need, what you would like, and what you can compromise on and what you won’t. I think through this process, you will be able to be a little bit more open with guys. As well as you will be able to stand firm in what you want and what you deserve. Then you can start going on dates – maybe some online dating sites such as POF, or Tinder, or the Bae App, or have your friends set up you up with some of their friends (at least you know the guys will be decent humans, unless you have shitty friends). And then, just let whatever happens, happen.

Keep It Classy,

– T. Renae

 

2015 Reflections

As 2016 has just started, I’ve given myself a few days to really reflect on the past year and figure out what I’ve learned, what I’ll do differently and what must change for this new year. I’ve learned so much and I just want to share my reflection as a means to inspire you to reflect over your past year as well.

I deserve better. I’ve put up with a lot of things that I shouldn’t have in 2015 with my friends. For me, it’s especially hard for me to voice my opinions or feelings because of fear of hurting someone else’s feelings. There’s no reason why I put up with as much as I did, and this year I am looking forward to standing up more for myself and not allowing myself to be treated any kind of way.

Along with this, I’ve found that you are your biggest support has to come from within. No one is going to support you, like you. Even if you support everyone and their momma’s businesses, startups, and ideas – it won’t be reciprocated. I don’t know why I expect the support and love I pour out into people to be returned but quite frankly it probably won’t ever be. And that’s okay.

I need to take more time to work on myself, pamper myself and love myself unapologetically. Sometimes I give too much to other people, and not enough to myself. In 2016, I plan on giving the same amount to myself, as I give others. Also, just work on loving myself flaws and all – no one is perfect and I shouldn’t expect to be either. Sometimes I feel like I hold myself to this unobtainable standard of living and how I live. I have to learn that the standard in my head isn’t the end all to myself. It’s okay to mess up sometimes.

With that being said, I’ve also learned how strong I am as a person – not physically, but emotionally and mentally. I can handle almost anything anyone throws at me. This year has been the year of challenges. With the pursuit of graduate school, and applying for everything humanly possible (scholarships, trips, diversity weekends, etc). I can do pretty much anything I put my mind to and I need to walk in that truth.

I think those are the main takeaways from 2015 for me. What were you major lessons in 2015 – Share them below in the comments!

Keep It Classy,

– T. Renae

New Semester Preparation CheckList

So today is my last, first day of classes in my undergraduate time at Hampton University. So instead of writing a long post about what I do every semester to prepare for my upcoming semester – I decided to make a quick checklist for you to follow to start your semester!

New semester checklist!

  • GET A PLANNER (Like my cute one from Erin Condren)
  • Put all known dates (like from your school’s academic calendar)  on your calendar.
  • Price text books.
  • Clean out old folders and binders of stuff you won’t need.
  • Input class schedule into phone (and other known events), as well as work out times, meal times, times for homework, etc.
  • Get new cute school supplies.
  • Once you get syllabi, mark down any major assignments into your planner.
  • Create a new assignment sheet based off of your course.

I hope this is a quick tip sheet to help you start off the new semester off on the right foot! For more detail on how I prepare for the semester check out this and this and this !

Keep It Classy,

– T. Renae

Fresh Start Friday’s: Project you!

Honestly the best project you will ever work on is yourself! I encourage you to spend this entire weekend, getting to know yourself and doing things that bring you the most joy and happiness. Maybe you should change your appearance to feel more confident, or paint your nails a new color. Spending time with you, reflect on your character, think about your actions and change any little thing you don’t like. This weekend should be about you and that’s it! No ifs ands or buts about it! There’s no reason once a month for you not to take time and focus on you, your happiness, and your wellbeing. I don’t want to say too much on what you should be doing, because my happiness and things that contribute to it, isn’t going to look the same as yours. Truly spend time thinking about what makes you the happiest, however don’t over think it. If you enjoy being on Pinterest for hours, binge playing the Sims4, sleeping for numerous hours, watching Netflix for 5 hours straight, reading books, or being productive, or whatever it is that makes your heart up overflow with joy – DO IT! Your happiness and fulfilled life are waiting for you, RUN AFTER IT.

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Keep It Classy,

T.Renae