The book The Hate U Give is a powerful story of finding your voice


Due to some unfortunate events that include ripping out four of my wisdom teeth, I found myself bedridden for the weekend. With nothing to do and the positive reviews swimming in my head, I pulled out the book The Hate U Give and decided to make good use of this glum experience.

First of all, I have to say that this book (at least the Collector’s Edition) is 446 pages long. I waited to read it because I didn’t think I would ever have time to finish it. It sat dauntingly on my bookshelf for weeks before I was able to pick it up. Despite the seemingly infinite amount of time I possessed, I was still worried that it would take me a decade to finish. However, The Hate U Give proved to be a book I could not put down and would consume me for two straight days.

Yeah, that’s right. It took just two days to read this entire book. That should speak loudly enough for itself.

The Hate U Give is based upon the story of Starr Carter, a young African American girl who lives in the make-believe town Garden Heights. When leaving a party with her best friend Khalil, they are pulled over by a police officer and he was brutally and immorally shot. But this is figuratively and literally, just the beginning.

Starr continues to grow throughout the story and becomes a powerful force and voice for her community. She faces racism, not only from the police but also from the people she once called “friends.” This book is not your typical teenage rebellion book; it’s a battle cry and an inspiration for teenagers everywhere and provides a crucial voice for so many who feel like they don’t have one.

I have to say that Starr is one of my favorite book characters. The way she develops and gains bravery in the face of adversity in order to stand against police brutality and stereotypes is nothing less than inspiring. One of my favorite quotes is one that is mentioned in the climax of the book, when Starr has to face the grand jury to decide the fate of the police officer who took Khalil’s life.

Starr’s mother has always been one of her biggest supporters, and thus at that moment she says to Starr, “Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means go on even though you’re scared.” Another quote that is motivating is when she tells Starr, “Sometimes you can do everything right and things still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.” Both these quotes provide an inspirational outlook on standing up for what you believe in and to not back down even when things are hard. I think, overall, Starr and her mother included, the characters in this book are all to be admired.

The characters are brilliantly written and are all ones that you are rooting for. Author Angie Thomas does a captivating job in describing all of them, not leaving any characters flat or one-dimensional. Each one had a detailed backstory, and each story was important to the plot and helped to create added tension on every page.

One of my favorite aspects of the book was how bluntly the book was written. All of the characters seemed to be based on real people, and there were no moments that seemed to stray too far from reality. Despite this being a high point, it also proved to be one of the most melancholy aspects of the book. Because every aspect is so realistic, the events in the book break your heart. I don’t cry while reading books, but if I were to, this is the closest I’ve come.

While the events that occur would make anyone want to hide in a forever-hibernation, Starr takes them head-on with the help of her family, which I will say is one of the most beautiful parts of the book. Her family consists of her younger brother Sekani, her older brother Seven, and a mom and dad. Despite the complicated relations she has with them, such as her brother Seven who is technically only her half-brother, her bonds with them are some of the strongest I’ve seen in a family. Her family is one that everyone wants have filled with fights, makeups, Taco Bell runs, and most importantly, reliability and a stronghold.

The actual frame story contained flashbacks in Starr’s life but they are not amateurishly done. Every time we are sent back to the past it is to receive crucial information, some that help to clarify the story, and others that only aid to the mournful tone of the book.

The book is also riddled with allusions to Tupac and other famous rappers, the biggest being the title itself– “The Hate U Give Little Infants F**ks Everybody,” shortened to “The Hate U Give,” also known as “Thug Life.” This is a reference to an album written by Tupac. Throughout the book, this is also something Starr comes to develop her own understanding of.

The Hate U Give was elegantly written and tragically heartbreaking but was not without a sense of humor and wit from each of the characters. Although the book was based around the controversial topics of police brutality and racism, it is in no way lacking in sarcasm and satire. All of these aspects prove to show just how talented of a writer Thomas is in her ability to effectively display multiple genres in one work.

As soon as I finished the book, I found myself instantly searching for the release of her next one. February 5, 2019. The release date of her newest book, On the Come Up. Until then, I will wait expectantly by the door, like a child waiting for their mother to arrive home, for my book to arrive in the mail on preorder. The Hate U Give was an enlightening read and nothing less of inspirational, leaving you with the belief that even when everything goes wrong, as long as you keep doing right, change is in the pages.