The Hate U Give, Book Review

Sylvie Goldner, ‘21

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is a captivating read. The book is from the point of view of an empowering female protagonist, Starr Carter. Starr is a sixteen-year-old high schooler who loves rap music, cool shoes, basketball, her friends, boyfriend and family. However, while Starr shares passions and interests like everyone else, she lives in two separate worlds. One of them, consists of attending a privileged white school. At school, Starr has a white boyfriend, and a group of friends who she jokes with and shares almost everything with -- except a major part of her life. Starr grew up in Garden Heights, a poor black neighborhood. She has hid this part of her life from her school friends as she feels she can never share her true self otherwise she will be an outsider. At Williamson High School, she feels that she has to act in a certain way otherwise she will be different, deemed an outsider as a stereotypical Black girl, in the midst of higher-class privileged Caucasian peers“Williamson Starr doesn’t use slang-- if a rapper would say it, she doesn’t say it, even if her white friends do. Slang makes them cool. Slang makes her ‘hood.’ Williamson Starr holds her tongue when people piss her off so nobody will think she’s ‘angry Black girl.’... Basically, Williamson Starr doesn’t give anyone a reason to call her ghetto” (pg. 71). Starr keeps her lives as separate as possible, until one night her entire life is turned upside down, when her best childhood friend Khalil is shot down by the police, unarmed and totally innocent. Starr was the only witness at the scene, and the reader follows her on her bold and complicated journey, where she decides whether she should speak up on Khalil’s behalf and all innocent Black men who are killed by police brutality in her community. But she knows that if she does this, her white friends at school may find out and the part of her life that she has kept so far away and distant, will come down right on top of her. What happens if she cannot being Khalil justice? This novel encompasses social justice, 21st Century jokes, a brave teenage girl, and family and friends who grasp you with their strength and moral character. The Hate U Give is not only a book where Angie Thomas’s tone and perspective of Starr is impeccable, but you will want to cry, laugh and keep reading all at the same time.