It only takes a single moment for your life to change completely: a party, a fight, and a bullet. In Angie Thomas’s new novel, The Hate U Give, the struggles of a modern-day African American community is explored: the close bonds, the strong sense of community, but also the friction with the police. As Starr, the main character of the novel, soon discovers, life can be carefree one moment and devastating the next; the unpredictability and brutality of life is closely examined in Thomas’s debut novel. Told with complete honesty and relatability, The Hate U Give gives a voice to the African American community, providing a fictional view of the struggles and hardships they face.
The story begins with Starr at a party, trying to fit in with her friends while attending a predominantly white school; she doesn’t exactly know where she fits in. But when a shot is fired and her best friend Khalil is killed, her life begins to fall apart. Starr is now being asked to testify and is trying to write the wrong that has been committed against Khalil; she is at a loss for words and is still in a deep state of grieving. As she discovers herself and fights for the truth that is buried deep inside of herself, Starr must decide to play it safe or to do what she knows is write: tell the truth.
The Hate U Give might be one of the most memorable books I’ve read in a long while. The characters are so completely real, and their suffering and triumphs are sure to ripple through the veins of readers. The story is told so realistically; both the language used and the setting feel entirely lifelike, giving the narrative even more depth and emotional-impact.
While I couldn’t relate to the dangers and suffering that Starr faced in the story, The Hate U Give provided me with a new view on modern events, giving a face to those who are brutalized or mistreated by the police. While political, this novel also feels like a normal coming-of-age tale, exploring a young girl’s struggle through grief and self-discovery. With both a violent and sad tone, The Hate U Give is sure to inspire and provide perspective for many teens, and it’s sure to be a favorite book of 2017 for many readers. The Hate U Give was released on February 28th, giving YA readers a novel that is both important and impactful. For those looking for a searing tale about the courage it takes to tell the truth and the pain of losing a loved one to brutality, this is a novel that will deliver — enlightening audiences to the violence that resides in our society as well as the hope that can be found in the darkest of moments. This is a novel not to miss.