The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

It’s been three weeks and I am still thinking about this remarkable book. This story is told through the eyes of 16-year-old Starr Carter, who happened to be in the passenger seat of her childhood best friend and former crush Khalil’s car when he was shot and killed by a local police officer. Starr has a lot going on: negotiating her private school identity with the poor neighborhood she lives in, telling her father about her white boyfriend, and no17-angie-thomas-hate-you-give.w710.h473.2x.jpgw grieving the death of Khalil and deciding whether or not to reveal the fact that she was the “Girl Who Survived” this horrific incident.

 
Thomas was inspired to write the novel after the murder of Oscar Grant and the ensuing Black Lives Matter movement, and she effectively portrays a range of perspectives on police brutality while flushing out full, engaging characters. Starr’s narration at once intense, authentic, and hilarious. I laughed out loud when Starr describes her Grandma, and I cried thinking about the weight of Starr’s responsibility to herself and her community. The Hate U Give is a beautifully crafted story that manages to address a myriad of timely issues: the difficulty of navigating two separate worlds, the ways in which the media often vilifies and tries the victim, and the struggle between truth-telling and self-preservation. Stone skillfully reveals the complexity of these issues with both levity and depth. This book should be required reading for adults and young adults.

If you want to know more, check out Angie Thomas’ interview on NPR!

Review by Ms. Irby

All Involved by Ryan Gattis

AllInvolvedAll Involved by Ryan Gattis RyanGattis

In the aftermath of the verdict that acquitted four Los Angeles Police Officers of beating Rodney King, an unarmed African American man, all hell broke loose in Los Angeles (CLICK HERE FOR A TIMELINE OF THE HISTORICAL EVENTS). Not only were there protests and outpourings of rage over the verdict, but parts of Los Angeles began to burn. This novel is the story of people who took advantage of the madness and those who became the victims of the many unseen, and ultimately unsolvable, crimes. Meth heads with molotov cocktails, gangster with revenge plots, and black ops with orders to maim all roamed the city without repercussion. Even the firefighters who came to rescue people and homes found themselves targeted and attacked.

This book is violent and not at all about the politics of police brutality that sparked the five days of social unrest that brought Los Angeles to its knees. It is a one sided journey into the dangerous underbelly of a system gone wrong. In a city where justice has been absent for too, too long and gangs of all colors and races, including the police, run amuck at will.

Review by Sarah Rosenkrantz