Thomas, A. (2017). The Hate U Give. New York: HarperCollins Publisher.
Inspired by the movement #BlackLivesMatter, The Hate U Give is an incredibly relevant and heartbreaking account of a sixteen year old girl who witnesses the killing of her childhood best friend at the hands of the police. Everyday Starr leaves her own neighbourhood where her family owns the corner store, to attend private school in an affluent neighbourhood. Up until this point, Starr had done fairly good job of keeping her two worlds separate –dating someone at school who is white, while still being very much a part of her own community, until now. Even though Khalid was unarmed and innocent at the time of his murder, the press makes him out to be a thug.
The Hate U Give (or THUG) will inevitably spark discussion on race. It reminded me a lot of All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely because both books deal with witnessing a police killing of an innocent young black man and grappling with the decision to come forward as a witness, or not speaking up out of fear. Also how it’s not black people’s job to educate whites on white privilege. All American Boys quickly became one of my favourites, and it’s interesting to see the mass support for The Hate U Give. Maybe we’ll see more books written with this timely theme.
Girl power is another facet of THUG that is powerful. Starr is a well developed, strong heroine whose family supports her and loves each other. It hurts (as it should) to hear through their conversations and daily life just how inescapable racism remains.
What did you think about The Hate U Give?