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 was another book from my Top 5 Debuts I am Excited For, and this was on top of the list, and it seriously did not disappoint, and maybe in the running of my favorite read of 2017, and it also one of the most important books to read.
This book was inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and it really captures how a police shooting affects, a city in which the shooting took place. It examines how the police was involved within the investigation and how the media interprets what happens..
The shooting takes place right around the beginning of the book where, Khalil and Starr were pulled over by a cop and after some things escalate the officer shoots Khalil, with Starr witnessing everything.
Starr, is an amazing protagonist. I like that she is a character of two worlds, from the prep school during the weekday and the poor neighborhood, where she lives with her family. When she is at school, she feels as if she has to act a certain way, especially around her white classmates, being one of the few black students in the school. Even after the shooting Starr feels as if she does has a responsibility to let everyone know the real story. But her being a 16 year old girl it feels like a big burden.
The whole story is within a few month period which starts with the shooting and ends after the Grand Jury verdict. Even though Starr was a witness to the events of the shooting , the media starts to twist everything calling Khalil a thug and a gangabnger, which happens a lot within officer involved shootings. Also the reaction of her classmates, in which her classmates use the term “gangbanger” as a way to justify the shooting.
Starr’s character arc goes from witness to activist in the best way possible, and you see how it is guided through her parents, who I think were some of the best parents in YA contemporary. You could tell that they always wanted what was best for their daughter, and care deeply about her. Her father reminded me a lot of one my professors in college that always tends to drop some knowledge on the class.
Starr’s relationship with her boyfriend, Chris was also well done. While Chris was white, he still was trying to understand what she was going through. I also like that the relationship while still well developed didn’t take too much time away from the plot of the book.
DeVante is another good character. He is someone who is in the gangbanger lifestyle and is always struggling to get out. His arc mainly deals with his dealings with the neighborhood gangster, and looks to Starr and her family for support. The book really does a good job at dealing with the issue of family, especially living in a poor neighborhood.
In the end, The Hate U Give was one of the most important books I have ever read, and I usually don’t pick up contemporary books, but I am glad that I read it. It has a great story, a great main character and provides a commentary about a real life issue that is going on today.