The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (444 pages)
Overview: Starr and Khalil are driving home from the spring break party when he gets pulled over by a cop. They both know what can happen at traffic stops like this, so they both are nervous even though they've done nothing wrong. And even though they do everything right through the entire stop, Starr watches her best friend die in a shooting, and that isn't even the first time Starr has had to experience that kind of trauma. Before she can even sort out her grief, she's thrust into a new issue, she is the only witness. As her neighborhood of Garden Heights is thrown into a war zone of protests, riots, and heavy policing, Starr still has to navigate her life forty-five minutes away at her primarily white private high school of Williamsone were she feels like she must be a different version of herself than at home in order to protect her social standing. Overall: 5
Characters: 5 Angie establishes a real and phenomenal cast. Starr is intelligent, insightful, and very self aware. She makes a great narrator for the story. Her family is strong and understanding. Her other friends in Garden Heights, Kenya, Devante, Khalil are all interesting and provide a clear look into the culture of Garden Heights. Her friends from school paint a clear picture that represent in a way the different kinds of perception of African Americans in America with her boyfriend Chris and best friend Maya being very genuine, interested, and understanding while her exfriend Hailey represented the people who just don't understand how their comments can be racist and hurtful. Thomas creates a very impactful narrative by showing so many backgrounds evenly without villainizing one point of view but showing the breakdowns and fault in understanding.
Plot: 5 Thomas has a real page turner with this story. Through every twist and turn, from grief to anger and outrage, she keeps the reader wanting more. Whether it's learning more about Starr's life and family or the thickening of Khalil's murder case, I couldn't get enough of the story.
Writing: 5 I give Angie all the props in the world for this novel. She creates such an immersive world that even though Starr experienced things and had a life very different from my own, I never felt a block or lack of understanding that stopped me from enjoying the story. She wrote a novel that accomplished exactly what I want from a book, to understand and gain empathy. My heart went out to Starr and her experience. And that shows why it's such an important book, especially today, as it humanizes a situation that is so heavily in the news today. It made me think and fall in love in the process.
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