Synopsis (From Goodreads):
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 is a book about a timely topic that everyone on Twitter and Goodreads has raved about. I was concerned that The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, couldn't possibly live up to the hype. But as I read, I began to understand that this book should be even more celebrated! It should be required reading for teens and adults, particularly for those who are having trouble understanding the Black Live Matter movement. This heartbreaking novel shows the anger, frustration, and determination that fuel the crusade to stop police violence towards young African-American men.
What I Liked:Characters:
Each person in this book is a unique, complex human being. There are no caricatures. The author show us each person without sentimentality. Everyone, including the main character Starr, makes good and bad decisions. But is a person defined by a few poor choices? Of course not. But this book shows how society (and the media) make quick assumptions based on only limited parts of a person.
I love how this novel showed a complex, but ultimately, happy marriage between two people. Too often in YA books, the parents are an afterthought to the story. But each of the parents have a deep impact on their children. And this is true of almost all of the adults in this book (the parents of Chris are an exception).
The parents argue, make up, and make big mistakes in their lives. I loved how Starr could look up to her parent's marriage and see a strong union.
The story centers around a police shooting of a young African-American teen. I want to emphasize that this book does not demonize all police officers. But it does come from the perspective of the African-American community. The author does a delicate balancing act of showing people's fear of the police without turning police into stereotypes of racism.
What is most masterful in this book is how skillfully the despair and anger over lack of justice in a community are explained. If you have ever heard (or said yourself), "Well, all lives matter", or "Blue lives matter", then you should read this book. The point of the Black Lives Matter movement is not that one life is more important than another. The point is that right now it feels as though black lives do NOT matter. Each time there is a police shooting and the officer is not held accountable, it feeds a narrative that the person must have done something to deserve this. But these are often children who were the victims of racist assumptions that black people are to be feared. It is gut-wrenching, yet important, to explore these issues.
Yes, this novel does contain a fair amount of humor in it, particularly when Chris, Starr's white boyfriend, attempts to get to know Starr's family and friends. I loved it.
What I Was Mixed About:
I hope that some people don't come away from the book thinking that only African-Americans living in crime-ridden neighborhoods get harassed by the police. This happens to young African-American males (and females) everywhere!
This book gives a strong voice to difficult issues of racial profiling, inter-racial dating, and race relations, from the perspective of those affected the most: teens of color. This is an important book that should be read in every high school in America.
Release Date: February 28th, 2017
Genre: YA Fiction
Source: Public Library
Recommendation: Read it ASAP! I would suggest teens over fourteen should read this, mainly for liberal F-bombs, and mature subjects.
Tuesday, April 18, 2017