There was a buzz on bookstagram about ‘The Hate U Give’ or THUG about a year ago. I kept seeing it and its rave reviews and I somehow didn’t get myself to read it. When I did however, it coincided with the shooting of Stephon Clark and the book felt more real and pierced through my heart even more than it should have. A lot of the times I had to stop because it got too emotional – and I’m not even from the African-American community.
The book is about sixteen year old Starr who shuffles her life between living in a poor, predominately black neighbourhood and a fancy school. While leaving a party, her best friend of her younger years, Khalil was shot by a police officer with no provocation. His death becomes a national headline and Starr is the only witness. However, she wants to hide this fact from her ‘other life’ and that becomes hard for her. The book shows her turmoil – dealing with the repercussions, dealing with the loss and trying to find the balance.
At the same time, this is a story not about a bad circumstance and the way a family and community dealt with it, but it’s also about a African-American family and their friends and how they navigate their lives in the United States. Yes, this book touches a lot of topics including racism, police brutality, drug abuse and systemic violence but it’s also about a regular family.
Angie Thomas has done a tremendous job in showcasing the nuances of being a teenager, a parent, a friend and so much more. I absolutely loved the character development of almost every character. The entire book is written in the voice of Starr which is why the book is so easy to read/simplistic. I would definitely recommend this book to everyone. 🙂