Book review: The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give has been on my Amazon wishlist for a while, so when I needed another book to make my order up to £10 it practically jumped into my basket. I didn’t really know anything about the plot; only that lots of bloggers and Instagrammers had recommended it.

It was delivered at about 11am on a day when I was ‘working from home’ - I opened it up to read a few pages with my lunch and never quite made it back to my desk.

It's a young adult novel, which I have a soft spot for, and one of the upsides of reading YA is that it’s easy to tear through. By 4pm the same day I’d finished it, but it took me a little longer to fully digest it - there are some heavy themes in it for a book aimed at teenagers.

The main character is a teenage girl who is in the passenger seat of a car when her friend is shot by a police officer, and it explores a story similar to many of those which have been put in the spotlight by the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s written in a really authentic, interesting voice and the protagonist, Starr, is extremely likeable.

It also doesn't pull any punches on issues around race, and because it's told in the first person, the impacts that individual and institutional racism have on Starr. At the same time she's told about the birds and the bees, she's also told what to do if she's stopped by a cop: "Keep your hands visible," her father advises. "Don't make any sudden moves."

There’s one passage where Maya, a Chinese-American character, recalls a joke told about her eating cat for Thanksgiving Dinner in middle school - it’s glanced over but what’s important is how raw that memory is for Maya, even years later.

Another passage sees a white character querying black characters about their ‘odd’ names, and a black character, Seven, pointing out that he has, “fallen into the trap of the white standard.”

But none of this is done in a preachy way, it’s a book that’s authentic and important and educational whilst also being a damn good read. I don’t think there are many people for whom it won’t hit home, and in particular, I think it would be a great, digestible way to introduce teens and young adults to issues of racism and discrimination.

Check out author Angie Thomas on Twitter - I think we can expect to see a lot more of her!


Popular Posts