The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas | Rating: ★★★★★
"Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right."
Wow--just wow. That's the only way I can accurately sum up my experience in reading this stunning debut from Angie Thomas. I can't remember the last time I was so deeply moved by any novel--not just a young adult novel. Perhaps, it was over a decade ago by a book that is very different yet so entwined with a similar message. When I was in middle school, my teacher suggested I read a book called Candle in the Wind by Maureen Crane Wartski. The Hate U Give tackles a very different topic of violence and the effect it has on a community.
Utterly relevant to the world we live in where the topic of violence against POC by the hands of police--The Hate U Give offers its readers a highly underrepresented voice to fiction. Even more, it is something that is instantly a classic for many who pick it up. Indeed, I'm not afraid to say that Angie Thomas not only carves a name for her work with this riveting debut; she has certainly won out a place for this novel on the best young-adult novels of all time. The Hate U Give is something we so desperately needed to see represented in literature and in the years to come, it will surely remain at the top of that list.
For decades to come, people will rightfully praise this novel and all the complexities that come hand in hand with it. Not only will it get people talking--and connecting to its characters, its stories--it will remind certain readers what life is like just beyond their setting. Seeing this story told in the eyes of Starr makes it even more moving. Starr is your neighbor, your sister, your best friend, your cousin, you.
Angie Thomas has a golden touch when it comes to accurately portraying the world we live in. From the privilege of others, to the simplicity of a community, to coming of age and realizing who you are or who you've always been, we see this story unfold from virtually all angles. The most important being Starr's and seeing the effect the murder of her childhood friend, Khalil, as she tries to navigate the waters yet to come. The Hate U Give is a raw and breathtakingly honest coming of age story you won't soon forget.
The main message is apparent from the summary but the beauty in the novel is a combination of every little detail and every breath of life. If it doesn't move you or provoke thought, you're not reading it properly. This is the type of novel--based up life--that signals conversation and leads to a greater purpose. Black lives matter. Black lives have always mattered. One of the most striking parts of this novel (beyond, you know, the entire thing) is the final chapter.
"I'll never give up. I'll never be quiet. I promise." Did anyone else burst into tears of pride over this ending? Starr's growth--from who she was before Khalil was killed, the scars she'd had previously from the death of her friend Natasha (when they were both only ten years old) and all the changes that came with something she--and Khalil--never asked for? Fuck. That's literally all I can say--fuck. It's that good.
Beyond this--not a single page lacks heart and soul. From Starr's family (I'm going to extend this to Kenya, Lyric and even DeVante) to their shop, to Starr's friends and boyfriend, everything was tied in beautifully and will leave you feeling so much. You've got a family dynamic that is unbeatable, a ton of fantastic characters (and then less than fantastic characters: I'm looking at you, Hailey) and a romance that doesn't take the reigns of this story.
Ultimately, it has all the makings of a perfect novel.
Angie Thomas, much like Starr, is a force to be reckoned with and deserves every bit of hype that she has received for The Hate U Give. Everything about this novel is unforgettable and will be around for decades and long after we are gone. A modern day classic that is impossible to put down--The Hate U Give is a glimmer of life and truth that cannot be avoided.