“You can destroy wood and brick, but you can’t destroy a movement.” ― Angie Thomas,
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
Caitlynn: There are some books that just open your eyes to so many different things. This was that book for me. The Hate U Give was such a phenomenal book and I can’t say enough good things about it. 5/5 stars.
Eden: What is there to say about The Hate U Give other than that it’s an amazing and touching story that left me speechless in some moments and screaming at it in others. Angie Thomas brings to life an entire family in 400 pages while giving the account that many people of color can identify with. 5/5 stars for The Hate U Give.
Jenn: I have been anticipating this book for a long time now. Between the synopsis and Angie Thomas’s tweets I was definitely excited to read it. (If you don’t follow Angie Thomas on twitter you’re missing out.) I had very high expectations and this book still managed to exceed those expectations. This is a heartbreaking and poignant book. You should pick up this book ASAP. You will not regret it. My rating: 5/5 stars.
Eden: How did you guys feel about The Hate U Give?
Caitlynn: Can I rate it more than five stars? 10 out of five!
Jenn: Five out of five stars.
C: I liked it. Like, why wouldn’t you like it? It was so- I ugly cried so much reading this book.
E: I know. I started it and within the first 75 pages I found that I had angry cried maybe two or three times already.
C: I loved the pacing of the book. It happened right away at the very beginning of the book. Everything happened immediately and we got to read the aftermath.
E: I loved the pacing as well. She created such an amazing story and it was like a small sliver of what the mentality is around neighborhoods and people of color when something like this happens. It gives you more of a perspective of how scared and confused and frustrated the people in these situations are and it’s all because of one truly awful single moment in time.
J: What was so impactful about this for me is that it wasn’t excusing things but it wasn’t taking away peoples experiences. It was validating that people feel that way and why people do the things they do, but it wasn’t saying this was the best option. It’s not saying that they should have done something else. It was just giving the vantage point of why? And I think that’s the most important aspect of this book. It was much more of a documentary type book rather than trying to put words and thought into peoples mouths and heads. It was just a small picture of what’s happening rather than trying to say it’s something that it’s not.
E: And her writing is so good. She did such an amazing job articulating the situations. When she’s talking about how Starr is two different versions of herself: one at home and one at school. I thought that was interesting because for us that’s not a thing. People don’t have this expectation of how we’ll act. If Jenn gets mad she doesn’t become the “ghetto Jenn” to people, she’s just an angry person and for me that was really important because I think a lot of people — myself included — don’t really understand that.
J: Yeah, it shows the systematic racism.
C: That’s what I loved about Chris too. He was constantly saying things where I was like, “Chris, no. That’s not right,” and I loved that we got that viewpoint because it’s so accurate and necessary to mention. The Hate U Give was just so eye opening.
E: This book is for everyone. It’s very much talking about how our different cultures, races and religions are things to be celebrated not looked down upon and that’s what makes The Hate U Give so wonderful.
J: What I also really enjoyed about it is that Starr was a lot like the kids I went to school with. Being in the programs that I was in growing up, I’d heard this from other kids of color. As a child when kids would call each other “Oreos” and such thinking that they’re jokes, but they’re not ok and it just keeps being laughed off people are going to continue to rationalize it. It requires somebody to speak up and say that’s not ok. I remember being in school and a friend explaining that it’s not acceptable. It’s not ok and it’s not a joke. So I really appreciated that it had that perspective because I know kids that felt that way growing up.
E: This brings Hailey into our discussion. What did you guys think of her?
J: What made Hailey so awful was that Starr gave her so many opportunities to apologize and fix what she did that was wrong.
E: Yeah, we just continued to see her say it couldn’t possibly be racist because it was a joke.
J: When you deny your racist actions or the discrimination that you are enacting it makes you even worse because not only did you say something racist, but you are racist at that point. If you are not acknowledging that what you said was not right then obviously your mentality is that the person that you said it about is not worthy of their feelings and you do not care where they are coming from. Starr was like, “Everybody can make a mistake” even she thought she’d made mistakes in the past. The point of Hailey is showing us that you have to acknowledge it. You have to know where your privilege lies and how it affects you verses the people that have fewer privileges.
E: Angie Thomas did a great job in painting Hailey in a way that shows her as not really realizing what she’s saying is racist, but still showing that even if she did realize she wouldn’t care. Thomas gave us her polar opposite in Chris who was always asking Starr to explain it to him, to help him better understand so that he wouldn’t make the mistake again. She gave us those two different sides and she crafted them really well. We have the willing to learn and grow and then those that just don’t care and believe the only feelings that matter are their feelings.
E: How did you guys feel when she got into a fight with Hailey.
J: I thought it was warranted. I was concerned because her parents were always talking about how she always needed to be extra careful. I was happy that they didn’t condone it but they were like, “Yeah, you had to handle it.”
E: When it happened I was really happy to see someone put Hailey in her place and just shut the kid up, but at the same time all I could think was, “This is how she’s discredited.” Starr was the star witness for the Grand Jury and as far as witnesses go she’s a very reliable one. So when she got in the fight I just worried that it would hit the news and become the story that everyone used to try to discredit her testimony.
C: I loved her parents. Her whole family was amazing.
J: Seven was my favorite character. I absolutely loved him.
E: Me too!
C: I ugly cried the hardest at the end of the book when I saw the list of names.
E: Ugh, yes. I looked down that list and was just so upset because all I could think was that these are only a few in the last couple of years.
C: I mean it hit home the point of the book in my opinion.