REVIEW: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
TITLE: The Hate U Give
AUTHOR: Angie Thomas
Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.
The Hate U Give is a very complex book to review, since it is not just a novel… here the author becomes the spokeperson of an entire community and deals with such a delicate topic as racism is.
Starr, the protagonist, is a 16-year-old black girl living a double life: she’s “Big Mav’s daughter” in her neighborhood (Garden Height, the ghetto zone of the town) and a very cool “whitish” girl in the school she attends, the Williamson (a very white place).
At the beginning of the book she witnesses the murder of her childhood friend Khalil, killed by a white cop without apparent reason. This event completely changes her life: she has to testify, she has to tell the truth, to show the world the injustice they (black people) have always suffered… an injustice that caused her innocent friend’s death. Step by step she becomes aware of the power of her words, of how every life matters and of how injustice have to be fought with tenacity.
I’d like to stress that Starr should be an example for everyone, not just those victims of racism, but for all the victims and all the witnesses: your voice is your weapon, our voices are our weapons and we have to stand up for ourselves and for everyone who needs us. Because brave is not the person without fears, but brave is the person who, despite his/her fears, does the right thing.
As a character Starr was quite easy to understand and to emphatize with (the story is told by her point of view), whereas unfortunately other characters weren’t so clear and so involving. Even though I loved her family, I would have like to know more about her brothers and her momma. The member of the family that I got the most was her dad: stubborn, strong, determined to love and protect his “lil’ girl” at all costs. I really understood him and I adored the way he decided to improve himself for his family’s sake.
Another character that I particularly liked was Chris, Starr’s white boyfriend: he was always so sincere and cute that my heart melt every time he appeared.
The development of the story is nice, but quite predictable, at least for what concerns the cop’s charges and trial.
I liked the end… but not too much. I felt like the situation worsened to quickly but in the meantime I couldn’t feel the tragedy I was reading about. I would have preferred the last pages to be a little more touching, althoght I have to admit that the final presents the right balance between “good” and “evil” and it’s not an unrealistic happy ending.
Racism in this book is presented in such a clever way, because you are kind of obliged to reflect on it without even realising that. You can see Starr’s point of view, which is the side of the story that is too many times kept quiet. Actually I can’t really understand this opposition of viewpoints since I’ve never experienced such a world (the place where I leave doesn’t really have a black community).
I liked how the author cared about specifying that not all cops are bad cops by including a character like Carlos, Starr’s uncle, who is black and a cop. I hoped the most of the readers got the right message from the book and not just an extreme form of violent activism (which is not the purpose of the book, but I also know that sometimes people understand what they want… and not what is said).
Final note: it was quite funny to read this book in english, because for the first time I “heard” the black language and I needed a few pages to be able to “decipher” it XD
Leave me a comment with your opinion on the book 🙂