By Smriti Nair ('22)
After recently being adapted into a movie, and awarded multiple Goodreads awards, the novel The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, has grown to be quite popular. More and more people are wondering whether this book is worth the popularity it is gaining and parents, though wanting to buy the book for their children, are concerned about the possibility of the book containing adult themes, such as drugs, gangs, and the terrible shooting of an innocent young man.
With regard to the recognition it is gaining, the book truly is quite fantastic. It is not the overall topic that caused readers to fall in love with it, but the characters and the writing style that made readers feel every emotion the author was trying to convey. It was not surprising that the book was given a movie deal, simply because it deals with a topic that has spread throughout the country.
The Hate U Give tackles a present issue within our country, which is the violent and sometimes unnecessary action towards blacks. The novel is written in first-person and revolves around the main character, sixteen-year-old Starr Carter. Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil by a white officer. Khalil was unarmed. Soon afterward, his death is a national headline; some are calling him a drug dealer, and others are calling him a gang banger, but what most do not see is the fact that a teenage boy was killed simply due to suspicion based on his skin color.
As the police and the local drug lords begin to put pressure on Starr’s family, the whole community wants to know what truly occurred that night. Starr must face the dilemma of whether or not she should use her voice to tell the world the truth, even if it may affect the people she loves.
When deciding to get this book for a child, age must be taken into consideration. The reader must be at an age where he or she can fully understand what racism is, is aware of what is going in the news, and can understand how in some poorer neighborhoods, drugs are a big issue. When such issues are acknowledged in school and he or she understands the magnitude, then they will get the full experience of reading the book.
The Hate U Give has incredibly strong characters, and Angie Thomas has woven together a story that shows how a person is so much more than the color of their skin. Each character has their own background and the book shows that racism affects everyone. The author, though dealing with an important and strong topic, did not force the book onto the reader. She portrayed her message in a subtle way, and her writing pulled emotion. Readers could relate to the characters and their relationships with family and friends, so when their favorite character is the victim of such a terrible act, they feel their despair through her writing.
The Hate U Give is a fantastic novel that should be on everyone’s bookshelf. It handles a sensitive topic and delivers it beautifully, making readers feel the emotion that so many experience throughout the country.