Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

March 20, 2018
The Hate U Give,  Angie Thomas, Book Review, InToriLexPublished By: Balzer + Bray on February 28, 2017
Format Read: Hardcover Edition (447 pages)
Genre: Young Adult/ Contemporary/ Race
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Purchased

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.



This book reminded me of a story being told by my family around the kitchen table. It was memorable, important and reached the perfect tone for teen readers. Starr is a courageous young girl learning to navigate the poor neighborhood she's from and the private high school she attends. After she witnesses the death of her childhood friend Khalil, she has to face the trauma of what happens and how her community deals with it.  Starr struggles to figure out what it means to be black and live in a world where that means far more then it should.
"The truth casts a shadow over the kitchen--people like us in situations like this become hashtags, but they rarely get justice. I think we all wait for that one time though, that one time when it ends right."
Starr balances two worlds learning how to act around her two sets of friends, while trying to stay true to her self. Growing up in a community with little resources your morality reflects the limited choices that you are allowed to make. Police keep marginalized communities in a state of fear. No one should have to guess whether or not they will survive an encounter with the police. This book realistically portrays the unjust responses that have followed police officers killing young black men. It's a relevant story for our time that encourages teens to stand up against the injustice that they see around them.
"...they either spend most of their life in prison, another billion dollar industry or they have a hard time getting a real job and probably start selling drugs again. That's the hate they're giving us, baby, a system designed against us."
Starr learns how to stand up for herself and confront the issues around her, while we are introduced to the memorable characters that make up her family. Starr's parents provide the best life for their kids but find ways to continue to help the community they are from. The character development was great everyone was described vividly, and stood out as distinct personalities. I was engaged with every pages while reading and I know most people will be too.

Recommended for: 
-readers who enjoy learning more about inner city life
-readers who want to think about more deeply about race
-readers who enjoy character driven stories about present day issues


Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi as indicated by her accent. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She can also still rap if needed. She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Meyers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. Her debut novel, The Hate U Give, was acquired by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins in a 13-house auction and will be published in spring 2017. Film rights have been optioned by Fox 2000 with George Tillman attached to direct and Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg set to star.

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