[Review] The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

05:39 Cilla P 4 Comments

I gravitate towards Fantasy more than I do to Contemporary, because reality can be pretty screwed-up and I'm often tempted to run away from it. But some things are too important to turn a blind eye to. That was the mindset I went into The Hate U Give with. I wasn't looking for entertainment; I was looking for truth. Someone's truth, at least. That's exactly what I got.

Once upon  time there was a hazel-eyed boy with dimples. I called him Khalil. The world called him a thug.

THUG invites us to look through the eyes of sixteen-year-old Starr, who witnesses the moment a police officer fatally shoots her unarmed best friend. It sends shockwaves through her life, and the line she's carefully drawn between her two worlds - her poor neighbourhood and her posh high school - begins to blur.

I love how THUG uses language to convey and examine cultural expectations. The vernaculars used by the characters bring the dialogues to life. More importantly, it shows how Starr consciously alters an aspect of herself to conform to white society's expectation.

Whichever language she uses, Starr's voice is clear from the start. She's bright, funny, and vulnerable. Her fears about speaking up resonate with me. You always like to believe you'll speak up, no matter what, but the reality may be different, and THUG explores that dissonance so well, it hurt. The negative consequences of Starr's speaking up are clear, but there are also positive outcomes. This balance of the bleak and the hopeful is a constant presence in the book.

The family aspect of the story is also heartbreaking and heartwarming in equal measures. It's rare in YA that we're shown a supportive family system, so I love how much Starr's family was a part of her life. That doesn't mean they don't have issues - there are some big ones - but ultimately they have each other's backs. The heartbreaking part for me was the fact that her parents had had to teach her the safe way to deal with the police. It shows that racism is not only a current problem as much as it is historical, but also that it's pervasive in the system.

Yet another brilliant thing about THUG, though, is its ability to be nuanced even as it points out the systemic and casual racism in others. The media brand a black man a drug-dealer as if that would justify his death. One of Starr's white friends makes hurtful comments about other cultures and is obtusely blind to her own ignorance. On the other hand, Starr's uncle is a cop - a good one. Her white boyfriend also displays ignorance, but he is willing to listen and be corrected.

I hugged my copy of THUG when I finished because my heart was both broken and full. It was by no means an easy read; it's raw in its emotions and confronting in its reality and possible challenges of your biases. It is a good and important read, however; it tells someone's truth, and we should be paying attention.

Reading this book contributes to the following challenges:
❥ Goodreads Challenge
Title: The Hate U Give ❙ Author: Angie Thomas ❙ Publisher: Walker Books❙ Source: Bought ❙ Release Date: 28 February 2017

"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."


  1. I recently read this and loved! It was so well written and so so important! I think everyone should read and talk about this book! Thanks so much for sharing!

    xx Anisha @ Sprinkled Pages

    1. I agree - I've already told my friends they need to read it! Thanks for stopping by, Anisha <3

  2. I agree that this book was incredibly powerful. Everyone should read it because we all need to understand this new perspective on the world.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    1. Yes! I find it sad that Starr's experience is the experience of so many, yet it's still a fight to get their voices heard.


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