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 now 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