The Hate U Give

[BOOK REFLECTION ON A BOOK (SURPRISING, I KNOW): LUCY ON THE HATE U GIVE]

By Lucy Earl

The Hate U Give was overall a very intriguing and unputdownable book (yes, that is a word, Merriam Webster said so). Although it was difficult to fully immerse myself into this book when I started out, by the time I reached the middle, it was as if my nose was permanently glued into the spine of the book and would not be released from its clutches until I had read the very last word on page 450 (which is the last page for those who don’t know). The title set me on edge at first, The Hate U Give. The letter “U” instead of the word “you” made me uncomfortable due to the grammar inaccuracy, but more on that later.

Lucy Earl of Young Authors CollectiveReading The Hate U Give was like looking down upon a moment in someone’s life while simultaneously sitting behind their eyes, hearing their thoughts, and marching alongside them as if you had been doing it for their entire life. Yet, the narrative is wrapped up in a tidy novel that manages to contain sentence structures and understandable content despite the aforementioned complications. The narrator, Starr, forces many different perspectives upon you that leaves you on edge while explaining why she’s doing it and making you more comfortable.

Much like “The Hate U Give”  references Tupac’s song “Thug Life” and the deep philosophy around “The Hate U Give” standing for the word “thug,” it allows you to understand your discomfort while still being uncomfortable and also gaining comfortableness, and I mean that in the best way possible. The Hate U Give was a very hard read; it was not that the words were difficult to chew through as they swallowed up the familiar world of punctuation, it was the fact that it was emotionally draining to any human who feels even a tiny ounce of compassion every once and awhile, even to a robot who is programed with a miniscule amount of empathy to fill up space on its hardrive, this book is emotionally draining.

The Hate U Give follows a few moments in Starr’s life that are organized in a chronological structure. The first being when her best friend, Khalil, is shot by a white cop and the couple of days that follow. This section is the hardest to get through because the author, Angie Thomas, expertly portrays the raw and painful emotions that are unimaginable to anyone who is lucky and privileged enough to not have to experience such an awful thing. In this part, a lot about Starr is revealed: she lives in “the ghetto” and when she was ten, her other best friend, Natasha, was killed. After that, her parents decided to move her to a private school where she learned to balance her two lives, “the ghetto” life and the private school life. The second part is the beginning of Starr’s journey to speak out against what happened, and without going into much detail for fear of getting into “spoiler territory,” the third is about Khalil’s trial and the aftermath.  (more…)

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[Book Review: Aiyana on The Hate U Give]

By Aiyana Spear

In my opinion, the sign of an incredible book is when I read it and it sticks with me for days after. I finished The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas almost two weeks ago, and there has not been a day where I didn’t think about it. I believe that I will continue to think about this book for the rest of my life.The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Reading about current social and political issues can be difficult; often when reading I want a book that will distract me from our current US problems. Writing about these issues can also be difficult due to the challenge of maintaining a balance between not wanting to go too far and be too political but still wanting to get your message across. Angie Thomas successfully and skillfully finds that balance, and her book, The Hate U Give, is a book that all Americans should read- especially white americans like me. When picking up this book for the first time, I assumed that it would be solely the gruesome, gut-wrenching details of a young black boy who was killed by a police officer. I assumed that it would only make me more exhausted that the issues so evident around me keep happening. I thought that it would leave me hanging only feeling more hopeless about the state of our world today. And in a way, it did, but not in the way I thought it would, and it did not exhaust me.

“A hairbrush is not a gun”

Starr faces many difficulties in this book, such as: witnessing her friend being killed, dealing with ptsd and  struggling with “simple” things such as arguments with her parents and her white boyfriend. These difficulties made Starr feel like a real person who I could connect with.  Often I wanted to take her and wrap her up in a blanket and protect her from the world, but Starr does not need my or anyone else’s protection- she is a badass who has gone through way too much for a 16 year old.

The main characters in YA novels have steadily become younger than me, both because I am getting older and these protagonists are getting younger; Starr is a year younger than me and she has gone through more than any teenager should ever have to go through. But the thing is, there is a Starr out there in this world, there are black teens and children in this world who have gone through more than I can ever imagine going through. And that is the value of this book this book makes the struggles of all of those children out there real- it gives them a voice and maybe, just maybe, it’ll change one person’s mind out there.

This book does not sugarcoat our world, it does not paint a rosy picture and, no spoilers or anything, it does not give the reader a hollywood ending where everything turns out perfectly. And after reading it, I wouldn’t want it to. It is searingly raw and honest and it not only tells of the story of a boy shot by the police and the aftermath of it, but it tells the story of a young black girl straddling two different worlds, the one of her black neighborhood and the other of her white rich school.

This book gives the human stories of people who are deeply impacted by the Black Lives Matter movement, who were incredibly affected by the many people who died. After reading this book, Black Lives Matter became more than a hashtag on twitter or a protest on the news, it became a real issue that is impacting teenagers just like me. This book is a searing portrayal of a heart wrenching movement.

“People like us in situations like this become hashtags, but they rarely get justice.”