Monday, January 2, 2017

The Hate U Give By Angie Thomas ARC Book Review

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl's struggle for justice.


I really wanted to be articulate here. I wanted to make sure that I didn't say anything to sway anyone from this book. I wanted to make sure that I did the book justice. I had so many, "I want to make sure's," that I almost talked myself out of writing this review completely. Because, this book is so important. There are young black girls everywhere looking for this kind of novel, looking for a story they can relate to, and although I am not as important as I wish I were--I want these black girls to see this review and to realize that, yes, this book is for them--that, yes, their story matters, too!

I initially struggled with this book. I know that seems kind of contradictory to my previous statement. But, let me explain. I'm not naive. I knew that black people were being killed. Regularly. Consistently. And, often times by police. It's hard to hear for some sensitive ears, but it doesn't make it any less true.

I've lived in this reality all of my black life. But it wasn't near me, it wasn't tangible because I couldn't see it. Not, until the birth of a camera phone.

Technology is a necessary evil. Now, we (I) can physically see the harsh reality of these police-related deaths--it's in our face. Now, it's apart of us, apart of me. So, with that being said. I've grown somewhat desensitized to these types of deaths. I see it on TV, and on the newspaper and I groan. I think, "Not another one." It doesn't take away my anger though. I am just as angry from death to death. But it's so frequent that I think I lose connection to each story. To each life. It's sad, and I feel sort of shameful about it. But, it's true.

So when, Khalil was killed in this novel. I wasn't moved to tears, but I was bothered. It made me think about how connected I am to my community, but that's another story for another time. The point is, I thought maybe, because, I wasn't moved emotionally--that I wouldn't be able to connect with this story, in the way that I should.

BUT, I was wrong.

This story is so important--and I did connect with it, on so many levels.

Let's talk about the characters. Starr is someone I know, or someone I knew growing up. She lives in the ghetto, and she goes to a fancier school. That was me. That was my friends. That was someone I knew. It's not necessarily where she lived, it's how she lived--split between two sides of her personality, wanting to be black in most situations, but not too black in the others. If that isn't the story of my life. Especially as an adult, if my voice is a little too loud, or my verbiage a little too ethnic--I was always afraid of how it would be perceived. Not wanting to stray too far from each side of my brown faced coin. So, I related to Starr totally. I think it was this, sort of dual life, that she lived that connected her to me the most.

Her family. Boy, I loved this part of the story the most. I LOVED the family dynamic in this book. It was so homey, it was like walking in the house and smelling the hot comb on the stove, and the mac-n-cheese in the oven. I found myself unconsciously smiling multiple times reading this book. Simply because this family was so like my own--in their mannerisms and their way of life. I wasn't fortunate to have an active father in my life, but if I did--I'd want him to be like Starr's dad, Maverick. I could go on and on about the family--but, what I will say, is that, it is so integral to this story--and so very well done. Thank you, Angie--for creating this well-rounded and put together family. That no one can call the Huxtibles, but, one that no one can say, is not a "real family." I was worried.

The friends--Okay, I'm going to just briefly touch on this, but there are friends like Hailey in this world. Beautifully naive, and ignorant. I pity these types of people--and that's all I'll say. I was happy to have the dynamic anyway. Starr had friends from every playing field, and it made the story well-rounded.

Chris. He was so necessary. His character was necessary. Essential.

 I don't want to say too much, because I want everyone to experience these characters and this story for themselves, but he was so necessary. He helped to make the story that much more well rounded.

The Story
What I hope and pray for is that people read this story from a completely objective standpoint. Don't go into it with any preconceived notions. Understand that this story is important, and that to someone, somewhere--this is their reality. Be willing to understand it, be willing to listen. (I know it's a book, but you get my drift.)

I really don't want to make this review any longer than it is, but I can't say it enough about how powerful, and how important--and again, timely it is. This book is a stunning and poignant debut--that has the makings of necessary reading in any school. This is a great novel, that is well written while being completely down to earth, and relatable. Not only was it easy to read, and easy for me to relate to, on a personal level. I think even those so far outside of "this," type of story or lifestyle--will easily relate, or at least empathize. If you haven't picked up on it yet, this is must read--for any age, and any walk of life.

Well done, Angie, well done.


  1. *hugs*
    I absolutely loved this story and I agree 100% that it's an important story, especially to young black readers. Like you, I knew what was going on, but I don't think it really hit me until last year thanks to social media, and technology like you said.
    I loooved Starr and her family too! I definitely agree it was very homey. And yes to what you said about Chris. It was an important character to have.
    I'm thrilled you loved this, Jazmen. Beautifuly review!

  2. This is one I am looking forward to pick up because I know it is an important story. It also helps I have heard nothing but good things as well. Great review!

  3. Wow. Simply amazing review, Jazmen. I love how you organized your thought and feelings about this one and it's obvious that this is a powerful and important novel. So glad I read your review. This sounds like a must-read.

    1. Thanks, mucho! I really do hope you read and love this!

  4. I just picked up a non-fiction about 10 kids who were killed on one specific date: November 23, 2013. I don't know what the significance is of that date but all these kids died of gun-related deaths. Now, I don't know if police brutality is involved, but if we're talking about gun deaths that are pervasive in America, I don't know how else that could've been excluded.

    Now more than ever, the need for these type of books are urgent. Because kids need to know the times are precarious. And if you have the chance, read Between the World and Me (if you haven't). It's really powerful. The desperate voice of an African American father really comes through and it's a book that I think, more or less, describes what it's like to be a parent of a Black teen boy. It's scary.

    1. That's on my TBR. I was supposed to purchase and read it last year. I didn't but I plan to, this year, for sure!

  5. This sounds so GOOD and I'm so glad you connected with it! I love your review and now I want to read this one even more. :)

  6. This review was absolutely AMAZING Jaz!! I've been eagerly awaiting for its release, and your review has me even more excited. It sounds so relatable, and everything you mentioned in your review is something I myself relate to, and I'm sure plenty of others do as well. This book is so important for this day and time, and I feel like it may go down as a classic!!

  7. I've heard about this book a few months ago, on and off. Your review is so well-written and I can tell you put a lot of thought behind your words. Your review alone makes me want to check out the book. It is a very important book, especially during this time.

    Thank you for your review and sharing your thoughts!

  8. As soon as I saw the cover, I thought this was going to be a significant story, so I wanted to read the review. And the subject matter of this book.. it's one thing to tackle. Lots of us are noticing these kind of shootings and injustices happening again and again, and it's so heartbreaking. Especially for those who feel so close and really relate to those suffering on a personal level as well, by sharing the same minority group. I am glad this one could be a voice for so many people, and I hope the readers who need it will find it.