Where can I even begin with this book? The hate u give is a powerful, gut-wrenching novel that I wish I could make required reading for every single person. That’s right, every single person. Over a certain age, of course.
The narrator, Starr, grapples with a split world. She is sixteen, and she lives in Garden Heights (commonly referred to as “the hood”), but attends school at a private university called Williamson. Starr finds herself separating the worlds she lives in, and making sure that “Williamson Starr” has no reason to be called “ghetto” by her peers. In the beginning of the book (I’m really not ruining anything because its 25 pages in), her unarmed childhood friend gets shot by a cop in the back when he turned to ask if she was okay.
BOOM. The book literally starts out bringing tears to my eyes. Police shootings are a very heavy topic to cover in a book, especially from a child’s point of view, but Thomas does it superbly in the hate u give. This book teaches so many lessons about perspective, oppression, race, and becoming who you are, but all in such a cleverly crafted way, that while you are reading it you do not realize how much you have learned. This book made me cry so many times, and when I say cry, I mean ugly cry. I was weeping. I was shaken up. I had to take breaks from it so often, it took me so long to read. It also made me laugh, taught me so much, and makes me feel like I need to go out and do something about oppression!
The hate u give follows Starr from the moment she witnessed her best friend get shot, to the moment she decides what to do about it. The scariest part of this book is how absolutely real it felt. It made me realized how sheltered I have been my whole life from the horrors kids face at half my age. I really highly suggest this book. It delivers a perspective that every single person should explore.
Not to get political (warning: I am about to get a little political but I’ll keep it at a bare minimum), but with the events that have recently been happening in the United States, this book is so very important for a perspective you may not know or understand. I wish I could hand this book out to everyone that responds to the #blacklivesmatter movement with the phrase, “All lives matter”. Please read the hate u give.