The Hate U Give. Finished 5-16-17, rating 5/5, fiction, 444 pages, pub. 2017
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life. from Goodreads
This is one fantastic debut! Thomas has taken a very important problem in America today and thrown back the curtains in a way that allows us all in on the experience. That’s not to say that from a storytelling standpoint I didn’t have a few issues, but I think that’s pretty typical in most debut books. I can only imagine the bright future ahead of Thomas after this.
Starr has witnessed not one, but two, of her best friends get shot, one by a gang drive-by and one by a police officer. It’s the one by the police officer that has turned into a national story and a powder keg for the community. Starr and her family live in the ghetto, as she likes to say, her father owns the local food shop and her mother is a nurse at the local hospital. She has one half brother and one brother, but the five of them mostly live together as a close-knit family. You will fall in love with Big Mav and Uncle Carlos.
Starr lives in a poor neighborhood but every day spends an hour in the car to go to a prep school, where she has white boyfriend and is one of the few black students. As she tries to come to terms with the shooting and aftermath she tries to keep her involvement a secret from both areas of her life for different reasons.
It’s a powerful read told from the perspective of a 16 year-old girl who lives two lives and how a horrific tragedy forced the two to collide. Starr acts like an adult most of the time, but her decisions show that she is also still a kid trying to figure out the crazy world we live in. I loved her. I wanted to shake her sometimes, but found her true to the teenager spirit.
I live in Cleveland, not so far from where 12 year old Tamir Rice was shot by police for playing with a toy gun at a park. That story broke my heart. Still does. Even if you tend to choose a side in these true horror stories, this book will probably challenge some of your assumptions. This book is powerful and should be a must read.
My book group, save one, really liked the book and it led to great discussion.