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Last night, I finished reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It is technically a Young Adult novel but we read it for my book club for moms.
The novel is told from the point of view of 16-year-old Starr Carter, an African-American girl living in Garden Heights, which most consider the ghetto.
Her parents are hard-working — mom is a nurse at a clinic + her dad owns a convenient store in their neighborhood. They work hard to send all three of their kids to private school outside of their neighborhood, a primarily white school.
One night, as Starr + her childhood friend, Khalil, are driving away from a party, they are pulled over by a white police officer. The cop ends up shooting + killing Khalil.
The book is all about how Starr deals with witnessing the killing of her friend for the second time. She also witnessed a friend, Natasha, who was killed in a drive-by shooting when Starr + Natasha were 10-years-old.
It’s also a book about race relations. A white officer killing a black boy. A black girl dating a white boy. Black children attending a predominantly white school + how they interact with their classmates + how their classmates interact with them.
What I Liked
The book was an easy read. It was a page turner so I kept turning, not wanting to put the book down, so I could find out what happened. I wanted to know if the cop was going to be charged with murdering an un-armed boy.
I wanted to know how Starr would deal with witnessing the murder of her friend.
I wanted to know.
For me, it was not about what color the officer was + what color the boy was that he killed. To me, they were human beings + one of them was dead at 16 + his friend was dealing with the trauma of witnessing his death.
For the characters of the book, however, it was about more than that. It was about race + their feelings about the fact that when there are officer-involved shootings that it’s typically a white cop + a black victim + that the white officer is never charged for a wrongdoing.
I also liked that the book was about a strong girl character. Having three girls, I am always drawn to characters that are girls, that are strong + that want to make a difference in this world.
In this novel, Starr is that girl.
Even though she is only 16, she is wise beyond her years. She is grappling with being a teenager + with being a black teenager in this world. She struggles with making the right choices + decisions + for the most part she does the right thing throughout the novel.
What I Didn’t Like
I don’t really have anything bad to say about this book. Angie maybe could have wrapped it up in fewer pages but maybe not.
I think she did leave some things hanging, though. Maybe she’s planning a sequel or maybe she just forgot to tie up some loose ends.
Overall, I give this book an A. My kids are too young right now but I suggest this as a book for teenagers to read, especially girls. I think it gives an insider view of what it’s like to be a teenage girl + what it is like to be a black teenage girl.
The author does a good job of revealing to other teenage girls that may be reading the novel that they are not alone. That everyone feels self conscious at times. That everyone feels uncomfortable in certain situations + that they are not the only ones dealing with these feelings + problems.
Next on my list of reads, Where the Crawdads Sing.