Reviewed by Emily McDonnell
The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas
Balzer + Bray
Hardcover, 464 pls, February 2017, ISBN-13: 978-0062498533
Encaptivated is the best word to describe my experience reading Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give. The plot was rich with brilliant character moments, heart-breaking scenes and incredible narration.
Justice, inequality and hope are all conveyed flawlessly in The Hate You Give. With issues such as racism being presented in a manner that teens can identify and resonate with, despite the fact that The Hate You Give is a YA novel, I feel everyone should read this book. The text is not only an eye opener but is also outstanding in the way modern issues in society are introduced and progress in this story.
Characterisation, themes and messages conveyed are executed beautifully in this novel. With Starr, being the voice of this book, sharing her insight on the life-altering events which occur throughout this journey. Our main character’s relationships with others are demonstrated beautifully, with rapid-fire dialogue and pop-culture references, all of which I adored. Yet again, the characters are easy to love and their development and arcs throughout is done so brilliantly.
The Hate You Give begins with Khalil, Starr’s childhood best friend, shot by a white police officer after the events of a party. Starr is the only witness. Only she knows the truth, Khalil hadn’t done anything. Only she can speak her story. Starr immediately finds herself caught in a whirlwind of sudden attention from the media, people at her predominantly white prep school – Williamson, her neighbourhood and local gangs. Whilst trying to mourn and discover her inner voice, the dangerous occurrences in Garden Heights increase, she feels distanced from her white boyfriend, Chris and her friendships at school are strained after Khalil’s death.
As we read on, we discover Starr two lives, Williamson Starr – who doesn’t use slang, ‘if a rapper would say it, she doesn’t’, nothing to make her seem ‘ghetto’. And Starr, herself. We see the harsh difference in these two lives, I loved the way Thomas expressed this, it was written in a unique, relatable manner and flowed beautifully.
This has not only been the best contemporary novel I read this year, but also one of the most memorable books I’ve read.
The Hate You Give is a story of both justice and injustice, love and family. This book will have you laughing one minute and crying the next. An exquisite novel, I would recommend to not only YA but adults as well. This novel has a powerful message which needs to be spread. However, certain themes/topics in this book could be sensitive to certain audiences, I would recommend 15+, if anyone is seeking an ‘ideal’ age bracket.
About the reviewer: Emily McDonell was first prize winner in the Hunter Writers’ Centre/Compulsive Reader book review competition. She is a high school student, an avid reader and has a passion for books. It was clear from a very early age that books would play a large part in her life. Emily has participated in the Premier’s Reading Challenge since starting her schooling and her favourite subject is English. Emily has also been a Girl Guide for the past nine years and is currently working to complete her Queen’s Guide Award. Emily also loves animals especially her dog Jersey.