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

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Everything, Everything: Book Review With Spoilers

 

So, if you don’t know I am one of those crazy people who have to read a book first before going to see a movie. When I saw the commercial for this movie, I immediately wanted to see it ASAP. I was telling my parents that I have to see this movie. And then I found out it was a book first, I literally couldn’t contain my joy. I love books – more than I can explain. Reading has always been a huge part of my life growing up. It makes me sad that I can’t read as much as I used to in high school, but I am trying to get back into the flow of reading.  Anyways! To the book….

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I started this book around 7PM on Thursday night and finished it Friday morning at about 9AM. It is a quick little read – very easy to read and get wrapped up in. There’s pictures and drawings throughout the pages and the main character Madeline is so easy to love. She’s a sweet 17 year old who’s very very very very very sick. So sick, that she has to live in a bubble to protect herself from her triggers. She has been sick her entire life. She loves to read (a girl after my own heart) and loves architecture and all things learning. Her life is pretty “content,” and then Olly moves in next door.

Let me tell you, Maddy and Olly’s interactions will literally have you blushing and remembering how it felt to be that young and in love. The book is so well written that you literally feel the excitement and giddy-ness of meeting a boy. In Maddy’s case, this is her meeting a boy for the very first time. Do you remember when you first started noticing boys (or girls) in a romantic way? I think I remember, in third grade I was in love with this boy named Morgan. Anyways. So Olly basically challenges Maddy in ways unimaginable. He even unintentionally causes her to leave her house for the first time and every time thereafter together. Olly has a great impact on Maddy, in my opinion. This was a great little read for someone who is into Young Adult fiction books and wants to get started reading with a light hearted, coming of age romantic book.

Here come the spoilers part.

I believe that Maddy and Olly going to Hawaii was literally the best thing. Like Olly says (and Maddy reintegrates) that chaos theory says that one little thing changes the course of everything else in a person’s life. I’m glad they went, even though Maddy almost died – had they not run away Maddy probably would’ve never learned the truth: that she’s not sick at all. I believe that what Maddy’s mother did was horrible. Just horrible and selfish. In effort to protect herself from feeling the loss and hurt from losing her husband and son, she literally gave her child this “rare” disease. She literally displays classic symptoms of Muchasuen by Proxy Syndrome. This is a type of child abuse that involves the exaggeration or fabrication of illnesses or symptoms by a primary caretaker. This is a type of mental illness that requires treatment, which the mother towards the end of the books sought.

I somewhat understand why Maddy’s mother did what she did… She just lost two of the loves of her life and the third was gravely sick. I get it, she’s scared… BUT I don’t think it was right for her to contain her daughter in the way that she did. Grief and love for that matter can make a person do crazy things. I do think it was a waste of settlement money from the accident. All that containment equipment, air filters, glass, and decontamination things – waste of money.

Overall I would give this book like 4/5. It was a great, quick little read. However I do wish it went into more detail about the characters after this discovery and more of their lives.

If you’ve read the book (or seen the movie), share below in the comments about your thought?? And If you have any book suggestions – Share those too.

XOXO,

– Tanesha

Book Review: Leaving Atlanta by Tayari Jones (With Spoilers)

This book takes place between the years of 1979 to 1981 in Atlanta, Georgia. During these two years, more than two dozen children disappeared and were gruesomely murdered. In 1982, Wayne Williams was convicted of killing two adult men and was sentenced to life in prison, however, prosecutors believe that he was responsible for the murders of 23 of the 29 children who went missing and disappeared. Williams, who was 23 years old at the time of the last murder, was never tried or convicted for any of the murders that were attributed to him. All the children who were murdered, or missing were between the ages of 9 to 17.

This story is told through the eyes of 3, fifth-grade students during the times of the Atlanta Child Murders. The book is divided into three parts all told from different perspectives. The first was Tasha, second was Rodney and third was Octavia. Tasha is a young lady, who at the beginning of the story, lived with both of her parents. Suddenly her parents “separated,” and as the murders being to occur in her community, her father moves back into the home. She is the oldest in her family and her family system was very open for communication. Tasha is somewhat of a busy body and is trying to find who she is within the social context of her fifth-grade classroom. Rodney lives with both his parents, but his father is a brute and very stern with him. He’s a very timid and shy – and does not have very many friends. He keeps to himself and begins stealing from the local store, in my opinion, as a way to affirm that he is invisible. Rodney befriends Octavia towards the end of his section of the book, and she has her own chapter. Octavia is a young girl growing up across the street from the “projects.” She lives with her mother, while her father lives in South Carolina as a professor at a university who is remarried. Octavia’s mother works the night shift and leaves Octavia, or “Sweet Pea,” at home alone at night, where she watches the news alone.

What are the most pressing issues in the book? 

I believe that the most pressing issue in this book is not the Atlanta Child Murders, but rather how the community reacts to these murders. I believe that this book put a very interesting spin on these murders. I really think that the way Ms. Jones focuses on these children and their experiences trying to gain acceptance in their worlds, even as a very ominous threat scares everyone.

What principals/characters did you agree or disagree with?

I did not agree with how Rodney’s father treated him. I felt real angry towards that man, and I could not imagine trying to grow and develop under the tyranny that was Rodney’s father. The man was not only harsh, but cruel towards his son. On one hand, I believe that his father was trying to do his best and raise his son to be a “real man,” but I think he could’ve went about it a different manner. I felt like his harsh parenting style did not fit his shy and timid son. I, however, agreed with “Sweat Pea’s” mother sending her to South Carolina. While the murders were not of little girls I think it was appropriate to try and give your daughter a better life. I felt like it was extremely hard for her mother to do, but the right thing to do.

What other things might the author have researched or considered?

I think the author should’ve went more into Octavia’s relationship with Kenny, or provide a little more detail. I would’ve been interested to know how that played out in Octavia’s life, especially since during these times sexual abuse from family members was rather common. Maybe not in a way to take away from the murders, but to just provide a little more context to the complexities that make up her personality.

What worked well for you?

In my opinion, what worked the best was the different forms of storytelling that was throughout the book. I believe that shifting the focus from child to child was important because each child’s perception of the world is different. No child is the same, and she really chose the viewpoint well for each child. For example, Tasha couldn’t be in first person, because she would take over the entire book, and Rodney couldn’t be in first person either, because he doesn’t not say much, but his thoughts are invaluable.

What major themes, motifs, or terms does the book introduce, and how effective are they?

In my opinion, one of the main themes is “a quest for identity and reasoning through experiences.” For the quest for identity I think is very prominent in Tasha’s section because it shows her really trying to fit in with the “in-crowd.” For the second theme, that is shown in Octavia’s section where she is trying to reason through why Rodney was taken, as well as why her mother is sending her away. I believe that these themes were shown very effectively because of the age group of the children they go through these things regardless of the situation they are in.

Another theme could be how the children are all trying to gain acceptance in one way. For example, Tasha is trying to be accepted by her peers Monica and the “in-crowd,” while Rodney would just like to be accepted by his father, and Octavia just trying to not be rejected by her class anymore. I think this theme is very effective because of how this story focuses on their experiences.

Did the book appeal to you on an emotional or logical way?

This book really touched me especially Rodney’s section. I was really in tears when he got in the car as well as when his father was beating him in the classroom. I related to Rodney the most because when I moved from Virginia to Illinois – I completely shut down in fourth grade, I never spoke out of turn, and had no real friends. As an extremely shy kid, growing up, I also felt invisible for the year. It hurt me in a sense because I knew right as his father showed up that it was going to break Rodney’s spirit. Part of me, believes that Rodney wanted to get into the car, but I still want to believe that he was forcibly taken. To me, growing up in non-Black spaces, unlike the children in this book it was really interesting to see the dynamics of their classrooms and contrast their childhoods to my own.

Book Reviews

So in the second week of February, I decided that I wanted to start back reading more. I felt like in college, I don’t get to read as much and it was making me very sad. I grew up reading so much, and then once I hit college I stopped. I missed it so much. Anyways. So here are the review of the five books I have read since starting my book reading challenge on February 9th, and the links to buy them. I personally did not buy all of these books, I rented them from my local library through the OverDrive app via e-books.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova 

So I read this book because I saw the movie trailer and I am one of those people, who if I see a movie trailer based off a book, I have to read the book. I probably won’t go see the movie, because I am picky about movies and this book would have to be done perfectly to work. I also am a psychology major at Hampton University and last semester I took a neurological psychology class, which we spent a good portion of the semester talking about Alzheimer’s Disease. It is about a 50-year old professor at Harvard University: Alice. She is married to another professor at Harvard, and they have grown-up children that are all on separate paths. So in addition to her everyday stressors, and life, she finds out that she has Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. The story is basically about how Alice and her family deal with her new diagnosis and her descent into Alzheimer.  So the book was beautifully written. It starts off in this “highly educated” tone of voice (if that makes sense) of this simplistic language. Which it was very interesting because it is done in a way that you won’t realize it until the end. In my opinion it was done to show Alice’s descent into Alzheimer’s. The author was highly knowledgeable about the subject, and you could tell she did her research on the subject – an extensive amount of research. I truly enjoyed this book, however it is not for the weak hearted. It is not sad, but it is not a super happy book either. I overall loved the book, and I could not stop reading for anything. I seriously enjoyed it. I highly recommend it!

The Boleyn King by Laura Andersen

So if you like historical fiction, or Philippa Gregory Books, or The Tudors This is the book for you. (Alright confession – I copied this from the book of the book, but it is EXTREMELY accurate. I love historical fiction. I never grow tired of it, however I cannot read it whenever. I have to be in the mood to read it. So this book is about what would’ve happened if Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry the VIII had a son, and consequently saving her life and upholding her Queen-ship. The book follows Anne’s son William, Anne’s daughter Elizabeth, Will’s best friend Dominic and Elizabeth’s best friend Minuette, and their lives, and the issues of England, and Will’s Kingship. The book was surprisingly good. I have read books before that try to be like the Gregory book series, but this had its own unique feel to it. This is a truly “What If,” book, every turn and twist in the book was well thought out. I truly enjoyed the book. I don’t want to say too much about the book because I want every one to read it and enjoy it for themselves. The book was very interesting, because it went through each person’s perspective, but not in a choppy way. It transitioned very smooth, showed each event from each of the characters’ mind and what they thought of everything. It was really refreshing, I did not think I would like the book to be honest. However when I started the book, I was instantly wrapped into it, and COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!

Sunday’s at Tiffany’s by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet 

This is a book starts out about a little lonely girl by the name is Jane, and her imaginary friend Michael. Jane’s mother is a very powerful and influential producer, but only has time for her daughter on Sundays, to look at jewelry at Tiffany’s. Michael leaves Jane on her ninth birthday, and she is supposed to forget him and then the book transitions into her adulthood life. Then Jane just happens to run into Michael later in life and things unfold thus far. The book is to me, balances between real life and imagination. Now this book is simple read, but there has a lot background information so that you can really get to know each character individually. While this is not one of my favorite James Patterson book, it was well written and a quick read. The structure was interesting, alternating between Jane and Micheal’s point of view. It is a cute little love story that has some very intense twists at the end to keep you guessing. I recommend this book to anyone who is trying to get back into reading, or wants to transition from young adult books to “adult” fiction.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

This book was completely out of my comfort zone as far as books go. The book is about Samantha, who dies, and then gets a second chance at life. Then keeps re-living the last day of her life. Each time she re-lives her life, she uncovers something new about her death, as well as altering the ways in which she dies a few times. This book was very well put together. It places you right inside of the head of a popular girl’s head, and every emotion you feel as well, even Samantha’s frustration as she keeps re-living her life. The book didn’t feel trite, or receptive as someone would think with the reliving of the life of Samantha. I personally felt like the book had a very good unexpected ending, and ended with me feeling very content with how everything turned out in Samantha’s life. I don’t know how exactly how to explain it, but it is a written, thought-provoking book.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand.

I have just finished reading this book. The book just came out last month (which I just found out). It was recommended to me through the overdrive app based on Before I Fall. It is really good. The book was incredibly sad, but heartwarming and distinct. The book follows a girl named Alexis, or Lex, a senior in high school right after her younger brother, Tyler, commits suicide. The book highlights how Lex deals with the death of her brother, and her life after, in addition to her parents’ divorce, high school BS, and more. This book really touched me. While I have never known anyone to commit suicide, it seriously hurts me when people die. I am very sensitive. Anyways. I thought the book was sad but had a happy ending, even if it wasn’t what I expected. I loved how at the end of the book, the author tied the entire thing together and it all clicked. All the pieces of the puzzle are solved within the last two chapters, which resolved a lot of my unanswered questions. The book definitely touches on a lot of subjects, but in a good way to somewhat expose you to the emotions that a person goes through when a loved one takes their life. Overall, great read, it may take you a few days to read because it is overwhelming emotionally, but in a good way. (Fun Fact: I started putting together this review, and then saved it to be posted and about an hour later I finished this book! How Cool!)

I am always looking for new things to read, not just to review, but I love books and reading! So What are some of your favorite books, be sure to comment below and let me know! I would love to hear them!

Keep It Classy, 

T.Renae