Friday, May 4, 2018

Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Book:            The Hate U Give
Author:          Angie Thomas
Genre:           Young Adult
No of Pages:  438
Publisher:      Walker Books
Price:             INR 359 (On Amazon)

Once upon a time there was a hazel-eyed boy with dimples. I called him Khalil. The world called him thug. He lived, but not nearly long enough, and for the rest of my life I'll remember how he died.

Starr Carter, a sixteen year old black girl, lives in two worlds --- her home in a poor, highly sensitive Garden Heights; and Williamson, her posh high school in the suburbs. She has a loving family, a normal stable life.

'Keep your hands visible.'
'No sudden movements.'
Only speak when spoken to.'

One fateful day, she witnesses such a dreadful thing that upends her life completely. While returning from a party, a police man shoots his best friend, Khalil, a black boy, without any reason, right in front of Starr and she couldn't do anything. Unfortunately, she has seen this before. Her friend, Natasha, dying right in front of her when she was just twelve.

Khalil's death creates riot like situation in Garden Heights. News channels are talking about a witness --- sixteen year old black girl. But nobody knows who that girl is.

Starr and her family are living under a constant fear --- what if the world knows that Starr is the witness?

'I always said that if I saw it happen to somebody, I would have the loudest voice, making sure the world knew what went down.

Now, I am that person, and I'm too afraid to speak.'

Would she be able to beat her fears for her best friend? Would Khalil get justice?

Angie Thomas' first book, The Hate U Give, focuses on racial discrimination and cop's brutality in America. The story is written in first person, and the narration skillfully captures the voice and the dilemma of a sixteen year old girl. Starr's (and her family's) fears and struggles are expressed well.

I really liked the characters! They look so natural, their conversation sounds so natural. Starr's father --- the way he tries to prepare her for every situation.

'Get a good look at the cop's face. If you can remember his badge number, that's even better.'

Or 'Don't let them put words in your mouth.'

Her strict yet loving mom. Her protective half brother, Seven. And her uncle Carlos who is like a father figure; who literally raised her, is trapped in a strange kind of dilemma as he is one of the cops investigating this case and knows the killer cop closely.

My only problem with this book was that it drags at some places. For example, I was not really interested in Starr's school life, her friends or boyfriend or their leisure time right before an important interrogation. Maybe, you wouldn't mind if you are a teenager. But, I felt the story could have been a little fast paced.

Overall, it's a powerful and enlightening book. Give it a read.

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