Book Review: ‘The Hate U Give’ by Angie Thomas

Alison Pfaff, Head Photo Editor

“The Hate U Give,” the critically acclaimed debut novel by Angie Thomas, has earned quite the attention during the past year. Rightfully so, “THUG” was an impactful work of fiction inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. The story follows Starr Carter, a 16-year-old girl living two separate lives: one in her poorer, primarily black neighborhood of Garden Heights, another at her rich, primarily white prep school, Williamson.

When Carter witnesses her friend Khalil being shot and killed by a police officer, she is the only one who can truly recount what happened that night. The novel follows Carter’s grieving process when coping with the loss, the impact it has on her community and the polarizing reactions from her school friends and neighborhood friends. Throughout, you see the change that happens in Carter as she’s forced into the world of activism, pursuing justice for her friend and how she balances the two worlds she lives in.

I will admit, when it comes to young adult books, I am particularly picky. While they used to be my favorite genre, I have sort of outgrown it, as sad as that is. When I heard the hype about The Hate U Give, I had to pick it up. It’s loaded with eye-catching pop culture references within well-written dialogue. At the same time, the book doesn’t try too hard to appeal to a younger crowd despite the pop culture influences of the characters’ personalities. Every character could easily be a real person, with their experiences and perspective being something all too familiar in America today.  There are young people escaping the world of gang violence and countless stories of police brutality. Carter also goes through the typical high school experience: friends, romantic relationships, as well as dealing with the loss of her close friend.

The book itself is a decent size, at 444 pages, but it really didn’t feel burdensome. I did put it down a few times because of school, but once school was over I was determined to finish it. About ¾ of the way through the book, I simply could not put it down. I think I ended up reading 150 pages that day to completely finish it. I had no idea how it would end. The ending was one of those where you just feel satisfied.

Things weren’t neatly tied in a bow, but it ended in such a way where I felt okay with it. To see Carter grow as a person throughout the book and take on her role as the only witness of such a tragic event is something anyone can be inspired by. This book, which was also named Journalism Education Association’s “One Book” for the 2018-2019 school year for scholastic journalists, goes above and beyond the YA genre. This book is a must read for anyone and is easily one of my favorite books I have read this year.