Written by: Angie Thomas
Published: February 28, 2017 by Balzar + Bray (HarperCollins)
Synopsis: 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
Okay, yeah, I get it. This book was amazing. It’s really nice when a super hyped book actually lives up to that hype. This is a book that I had heard great things about and I loved. I was honestly nervous because I don’t usually like serious contemporaries but this was really well balanced and really impactful.
Angie Thomas does a great job in pulling you in right away by connecting you to the main character Starr. I seriously loved Starr. It’s easy to like her though. She’s snarky, intelligent, and compassionate. You feel her struggle as she is torn between two worlds, neither of which does she feel like she fully fits into. It was really nice seeing Starr figure out her place in these worlds, and the world in general throughout the book. Her development throughout the book was subtle but enough for it to make an impact. Seeing her speak out for what she believed in and the people and places she cares about made her all the more likable by the end of the book.
But she was not the only interesting and likable character. I think the heart of this story is in the family. A lot of times we see YA novels where the parents are not around and if they are they are a negative influence. This book could have done that (and to be fair it kind of did but just not with Starr) but it didn’t. Starr’s parents were around and they were so involved. You could tell they loved her and wanted what was best for her and her brothers (who were also amazing, I seriously loved Seven). But they were also just fantastic on their own. I really liked her father Big Mav. He was such a freaking dad. But like in the best possible way. He was corny but still so funny and tough but seriously loving. Her family was just great. And their relationship was great. It added a great layer of humor and heart to the book.
But Starr’s family wasn’t the only great characters. From her friends at school, to the people around Garden Heights, to the local activist all the characters were complex and engaging. I listened to the audiobook and Bahni Turpin really did an amazing job. I already loved her and her narration but I think I love her even more now. The characters cake Alice in this book. There was a massive cast and she made them all feel unique and interesting. Plus she really got the tone and emotion that came with this book. It could have fallen really flat but not in Bahni’s expert hands (mouth?). It’s no wonder this book was voted best audiobook of the year by Audible. That is well deserved.
But I also want to take some time to talk about the plot of this book. It’s an extremely serious and topical event. With everything going on in the world a book like this needs to exist. It addresses a lot of really serious issues and it does it in a way that makes you think. I don’t like when books beat you over the head with their message and this book definitely didn’t do that. It had its point, it addressed that point but it didn’t come off and preachy and didn’t take it too far. I think even if you don’t like serious issue books you will still like this one. And if you do like them you most certainly enjoy this. But I think the reason the book didn’t get too extreme with it’s message is that it balanced it all out with humor and heart. Those are the kinds of contemporaries I enjoy and that’s what I loved about this book. It made you laugh, it made you cry, and it made you think. Isn’t that all you can ask for in a book? I think so.
I seriously flew through this book. I couldn’t stop listening to the audio. I really loved it. I wish I hadn’t waited to read it but I am glad I did read it. I get why it is such a favorite with a lot of people. It was really amazing.
I give The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 9.5 out of 10 stars
Have you read The Hate U Give? What did you think? Give me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!