April 13th, 2019


Book #21: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Number of pages: 438

Starr is a black teenager growing up in America. During a party she is at, gunshots are fired, causing everyone to flee, so her friend Khalil drives her home, only to be stopped by the police.

The cop who pulls them over ends up shooting Khalil dead after thinking he was reaching for a gun (he was in fact taking a hairbrush out of his pocket), setting the scene for a novel that is entirely about race, mostly because Khalil is black and the cop who shot him is white.

Because Starr was the only witness to the shooting, she is required to testify against the cop to a grand jury. As the novel progresses, tensions start to rise, not least because of the outrage caused by the incident but also because of the claims that Khalil was a drug dealer.

I noticed that Angie Thomas put a lot of apt references in - Tupac is mentioned a few times, mostly because he provided the origin of the title (The Hate You Give Little Infants F***s Everyone (THUGLIFE), and the characters frequently talk about The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

The whole book is narrated in the present tense by Starr, and I found it very gripping, with its social commentary, not least Starr feeling awkward that she has a white boyfriend (at one point this is met with mixed reactions by her family). The book is very shocking in places, with its themes of race and social injustice, but I found it to be a gripping read throughout and I was glad that I also watched the film almost immediately after I finished reading. It feels that racism isn't something that should be prevalent as it is today, but this book was a reminder that our society really hasn't progressed as much as it should have.

Next book: Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom (Sylvia Plath)