#tbt: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Oh, Thursday. How I loved you during the summer, but now. Now, you just mean that there’s two more days until I can stay in pajamas for 48 hours. And that’s two days too long. That’s why I thought my throwback Thursday book should be something that makes me happy.

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Title: The Hate U Give {444 pgs.}

Genre: YA {that feels so inadequate to say}

Publication Date: February 28, 2017

Summary:

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.

{DISCLAIMER: I am white woman who grew up in a 99% white community {that’s probably not even an exaggeration}. I’m forever learning, so if I said anything in here that shows my ignorance, let me know. I’m open to all conversations.}

This book has been talked about forever, I feel, but it’s one of those books that shouldn’t stopped being talked about. I woke up sick on the day it released, and I still dragged my sick butt to Barnes and Noble to get it, and the cashier and I gushed over it for, like, ten minutes, and that was with a line behind me.

If you live in America {and you have a TV, computer, phone, or newspaper}, you’ve seen the dumpster fire that was 2016. You saw the police gunning down or brutally abusing people, a vast majority of them young black men and women. Then you also saw the news turning the story on its head, dragging up random “facts” about these young men and women, facts that a lot of people couldn’t confirm, and that seemed to be the point {it’s like we’re in Groundhog Day}. Then you also ALSO saw people going to the streets, protesting, telling stories, trying to get the truth out. Then…the news once more.

It was disheartening, to say the least. Infuriating.

Starr Carter is at the heart of this mess. She is suddenly torn between her two worlds: a black girl at a white high school, and then just one of the kids from her neighborhood. She never asked for this, and neither did Khalil. Two kids coming home from a party, two kids wanting to be treated like anyone else, two kids who did nothing wrong. After Khalil is murdered {because let’s call it what it is}, Starr is thrown into the spotlight, since she is the only person who knows what truly happened.

Can you imagine being sixteen, seeing your best friend murdered, and then having people – the news, your friends, people who want to harm you – come at you from every angle, at every moment of the day? Like, I’m double her age, and I don’t think I could handle that kind of pressure with the strong backbone she did. Some people treated Starr like a hero, and even though she didn’t think she did anything, I would agree with those people. Just waking up each day after the horrible murder and going on about her life is strong as hell. She’s also charming and funny and smart, and as much as she tries to balance her two lives, she never compromises herself.

In my book journal, I wrote, “This book feels like a revolution.” And it is. The news dictates what angle of the story we see. In most big name news areas, the story is always the same: the police officer is right, the other side is wrong. But sometimes {read: most times}, that’s not the case. There’s more to the story than what the news wants to share, and the only way we can hear about it is when someone stands up and says, wait, no, that’s not what’s going on here. Starr is that voice, and this book is that voice. Angie Thomas writes these dynamic, wonderful characters that are from all different walks of life, and the way she breathes life into them makes this book feel like nonfiction {which, I mean, it kind of is}.

If you’re here, you must have read about this book at least once in the last year. I know I didn’t add anything new, but I honestly shove this book at everyone. I suggested it to one of my students back in March, and she hasn’t stopped talking about it. It’s one of those books. You’re going to read it and it’s going to make you look at things differently, and it’s going to stick with you. Also {GET EXCITED}, the movie is cast and it’s starting to film and the Carter family looks amazing and I’d like for it to come out right now, kthanksbye. Like, see the movie, but read the book. READ THE BOOK. You’ll thank me for the rest of your life.

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