Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Let's talk The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Hey lovelies, welcome back!


I, just like everyone else, have been horrified by recent events and have wanted to do my bit to help. I decided the first step was to educate myself, for me the best way to do that is through reading. So, after reading some reviews and a quick browse of the Waterstones website later I compiled a list of books I want to read this summer as the first step to educating myself on the BLM movement. 

 First up is The Hate U Give (THUG) by Angie Thomas. This one I'd started reading when it first published and won the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2018 but had to put it down as book club reads and blog tours took priority and I never got around to picking it back up, until now. 

Starr moves between two worlds and even identifies as two separate people – “Garden Height’s Starr” who lives in the poor, “ghetto” neighbourhood and works at the store and “Williamson Starr” who attends the private schools in the rich, preppy neighbourhood a few miles away. Starr doesn’t really mind, just as long as the two worlds never meet! That all changes one night when Starr witnesses her friend Kahlil get shot by a cop on their way home from a party. Shaken too her core, Starr is determined not to let it happen again. What follows is a journey full of self-discovery and an agenda - Get justice for Kahlil, challenge and change the system, and above everything else make sure that she too doesn't wind up getting shot, even if that means merging her two worlds...

 This is an extremely powerful read! Within the first few pages I was hooked - captivated by Thomas' candour and realism.

At times, it felt quite disorientating to read - the action resembles that of a dystopian novel, and it’s easy to get caught up in it. However, it quickly dawns on you that reality of the action. This is happening, right now, and for me that brought the novel closer to home and heightened my reading experience.

What stood out the most for me was how thought provoking it was. All throughout it had me thinking and unintentionally asking myself questions. Of course, it contains the usual tropes of YA fiction, friendships, relationships and the struggles that go along with those, but Thomas uses them as a plot device and as a way to further the over-arching message rather than for the sake of it. It is through these tropes that the questions are posed - Starr’s relationship with Chris explores the struggles of an interracial relationship and his interactions with her family encourage you to think more broadly about racial stereotypes. Hayley, one of Starr’s best friends, is the embodiment of white privilege! Thomas has written her so well that it got me wondering if I picked up on this purely because of the context I was reading her in, and if I’d even notice this if the character featured in another book.

Amongst all the grit, Thomas keeps it accessible for her intended audience while creating an appeal for older readers. As previously mentioned, this is a powerful read and an important one too! The Hate U Give should be one everyone reads. Whether you are a young adult, someone who enjoys reading YA fiction, or, like me, is looking to educate yourself, this book should be top of your TBR pile.

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