Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication date: February 28, 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Hardcover, 444 pages
How I got it: I bought it!
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
Reading Challenges: 2018 Tackle My TBR Challenge
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.
It’s been weeks since I finished The Hate U Give and I’m still struggling to put into words just how amazing this book is and just what it did to me. No words I can string together can possibly do it justice. But, I’m going to try.
So, confession time: I actually had no idea what The Hate U Give was about when I began reading. Meaning, specifically, I didn’t realize Starr’s friend Khalil would be shot and killed by police a couple chapters in. (That’s what I get for not reading blurbs before jumping headfirst into a book, huh?) I was an absolute wreck. Despite all the attention this book has received — deservedly, might I add — I never really found out anything about the plot. I bought the book, shelved it and decided I would read it … sometime. When the time came, I just started reading and then BAM, Khalil was shot and killed. I was utterly wrecked. Truth be told, I can’t tell you the last time I cried like this while reading a book. But man, as gut-wrenching and heartbreaking and WRONG as it was, it was also so very right. So honest.
I’m not going to get too far into the plot here, but we all know the story. We’ve seen it far too often. But what has been missing every time we see it on the news was the “after”. How the families and friends are affected. What they go through to try to cope. The real story about the person who was murdered — yes, I said murdered. Through Starr’s eyes, The Hate U Give gives us exactly that. The strength this girl shows moved me. The pain she was dealing with basically ripped my heart from my chest. But this story, it left a mark on me. I’ll never forget it. I’ll think about it every time a new police shooting occurs.
The Hate U Give is on a whole other level. It’s important, timely and flat-out amazing. I was totally engrossed in it, emotionally invested to a level I can’t even describe. It consumed me for the time it took me to read – and the moments I was away from it. It should be required reading for everyone regardless of age, race or anything else.
I’ve seen it happen over and over again: a black person gets killed just for being black, and all hell breaks loose. I’ve tweeted RIP hashtags, reblogged pictures on Tumblr, and signed every petition out there. 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.
Williamson Starr doesn’t use slang—if a rapper would say it, she doesn’t say it, even if her white friends do. Slang makes them cool. Slang makes her “hood.”
“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”
This is bigger than me and Khalil though. This is about Us, with a capital U; everybody who looks like us, feels like us, and is experiencing this pain with us despite not knowing me or Khalil. My silence isn’t helping us.
But damn, what about his life? He was once a walking, talking human being. He had family. He had friends. He had dreams. None of it fucking mattered. He was just a thug who deserved to die.
Once upon a time there was a hazel-eyed boy with dimples. I called him Khalil. The world called him a thug. He lived, but not nearly long enough, and for the rest of my life I’ll remember how he died.
Khalil, I’ll never forget.
I’ll never give up.
I’ll never be quiet.
Did The Hate U Give make as much of an impact on you as it did me?