The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give

Angie Thomas, Author

Balzer + Bray, Fiction, Feb. 28, 2017

Awards: National Book Award Longlist

Suitable for Ages: 14 and up

Themes: Racism, Police Violence, Prejudice, Family Relationships, Community

Book Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter lives between two different worlds: Garden Heights, the poor black neighborhood where she lives, and Williamson Prep, the fancy suburban school she attends.  It’s tough to make friends in her own community where she is judged. It’s hard being an acceptable black student in a white school. The uneasy balance between her worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a police officer when he’s driving Starr home. Khalil was unarmed.

Khalil’s death quickly becomes a national news story. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. One of Starr’s best friends at school even suggests he may have had it coming. When it becomes clear the police have little interest in investigating the incident, protesters take to the streets and Starr’s neighborhood becomes a war zone. Everyone wants to know what really happened that night. Starr is the only witness and because she is a minor, her identity is protected.  The police take her testimony with little interest, even though her Uncle Carlos is a detective. When tensions reach a boiling point, she knows that she has to tell the truth.

What Starr does — or does not — say could destroy her community. It could endanger her life. It could help her find her voice.

Why I like this book:

Angie Thomas’ powerful in-your-face novel is timely, brave, and gripping.  It is a story about violence in America that’s not sugar-coated but effective with a trustworthy narrator, Starr Carter, who opens her heart and readers’ eyes to the truth. Readers will walk in her shoes, feel her anguish and cheer as she becomes an instrument for hope.

Thomas’ action-packed and multifaceted plot begins with Khalil’s shooting in the first chapter. The story follows with the fall-out that occurs in Garden Heights as the community responds at first with peaceful protests. Gangs move in, stir up crowds and the scene quickly turns to violence. Businesses are burned and the neighborhood becomes a war zone. It is a grim and suffocating look at the inner-city where abuse, addiction and gangs are a way of life and children are its victims.

Starr’s tight and loving family adds stability to the novel. She lives with her father “Big Mav,” a former gang-member who wants to make their crime-ridden neighborhood a better place to live. He owns a local market and employs teens to keep them away from gangs and drugs. Her mother Lisa is a registered nurse who wants to move away in order to keep her family safe. Starr has an older, protective brother, Seven, and a younger brother, Sekani. Together the family faces adversity head-on with perseverance, resourcefulness, and the triumph of the human spirit.

Thomas presents the growing trend of racial profiling and police brutality in an unbiased way. She shows the prejudice on both sides. Starr’s uncle is a detective on the force, so we see things from his point of view.  It helps readers understand the different sides of the situation without confusion. As a reader I gained a greater understanding of drugs and gang life in the inner city and its appeal to teen boys who are supporting single mothers and younger siblings.

Through the perspective of Starr, readers glimpse the anguish that envelops her community, illuminating the feelings associated with suppression. We need more novels that focus on the social commentary of racism and police brutality. The Hate U Give is an excellent work of fiction and an important discussion book for classrooms.

Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was having an article about her in Right On! magazine. She holds a BFA in creative writing. The Hate U Give is her first novel. You can visit her at her website.

Greg Pattridge is the permanent host for Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts on his wonderful Always in the Middle website. Check out the link to see all of the wonderful reviews by KidLit bloggers and authors today.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

34 thoughts on “The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

    • I bought this book back last summer and the page length felt daunting, as I knew it would be a difficult read! Boy was I wrong! Once I started reading I was hooked and by the time I finished the 444 pages, I didn’t want the book to end! I learned a lot about inner-city life that I didn’t know about. I thought Sharon Draper’s books would have prepared me, but there was still so much more insight because of the injustices occurring. Think you’ll like this book a lot!

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    • I procrastinated on reading this book and it stared at me for quite a while — it is 444 pages. But, once I began I was glued to the book. Such great characters, a loving and supportive family, not to mention a lot of action. This book makes you think!

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    • I hope you read the book. You won’t be sorry. It is a book I couldn’t put down and I finished it in days. I learned so much. Angie Thomas is an outstanding author and tackled a very important subject!

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  1. Isn’t it amazing? I am sure it will win awards. Your probably saw my FB update that I recommended it to one of our English teachers and she is now trying to get it into the 10th garde curriculum. Such an important read.

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    • I hope she succeeds, because it is an important read for teens. It deals with such import social justice issues. And, I learned somethings about inner-city life I didn’t know. The book and characters are still with me.

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    • Thank you Darlene. I had this book in my TBR pile for months, before I read it. Sorry I didn’t read it sooner. It is such an important read! I learned so much. Do you have trouble with racial profiling and police violence in Spain?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Spain is very multicultural and fairly tolerant. Unfortunately, the people who come across from Morroco are often given a rough time. I haven´t heard much about police violence which doesn´t mean it doesn´t exist.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was curious if other countries did the same racial profiling. That’s why this story is so good. My son is from India and he has had to deal with difficult situations here for years.

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  2. Thank you so much for this review! It’s on my TBR pile, but I think while I work my way to it I’m going to pass your recommendation on to a friend who is looking for books for a teen book club she’ll be managing. Books like this are so important!

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    • This would make such an outstanding discussion book for a teen book club. I had the book in my pile for months before I read it. The 444 pages seemed daunting. Boy, was I wrong. I couldn’t put it down. Thomas really can tell a story!

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  3. I’m reading this right now. It’s tough and overwhelming sometimes. But it’s written with grace and humor, in a way that keeps it from being so depressing that you’d have to put it down. I can already tell that it’s going to be unforgettable.

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  4. Your review for this book is fantastic, Patricia! I recently read A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, and my English teacher recommend The Hate You Give to my class after we finished reading the playscript. I’ve been seeing this book around, but after reading your review, I’m definitely going to put a hold on this book at the library to read. It sounds like a very powerful and relevant book for today — great review!! 😊

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  5. Oh my gosh I literally just got this from the library! Thank you so much for such a thoughtful review. I’m glad this book was able to face tough, but extremely relevant issues head on, without dancing around the subject. I can’t wait to read!

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