Reviews of contemporary books are extremely rare on my blog. They’re so rare, in fact, that this is my first one. I’ve read quite a few contemporaries this year, but I only review them on Goodreads because I feel like my niche is (YA) fantasy and it’s exactly how I want to it be. But after reading The Hate U Give, I couldn’t not talk about it. It’s such an incredible and important book and I couldn’t let it go unnoticed on Goodreads. So, without further ado, here are my thoughts on Angie Thomas’ THUG.
“Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means you go on even though you’re scared.”
The reason I never reviewed a contemporary on my blog, is because I struggle with it endlessly. I never really know what so say about diversity or mental health rep. Or any kind of rep, actually. These kind of books are always so close to reality that I often get anxious about sharing these reviews. And so I let them be buried in the place I’d like to call my Goodreads review graveyard.
Before I started reading The Hate U Give, I was a little intimidated. It’s about such an important topic that I knew nothing about. I knew it was about people of colour and inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, but I was afraid I’d picture the characters as white people in my mind. Then I started reading the book and I was so relieved! Angie Thomas is such an incredible writer, it was nearly impossible to picture any of the people of colour as white people. And even if I barely knew anything of the topic, I understood the story and its importance. I actually learned from it. I mean, I live in the Netherlands, which is so, so different from America. I felt bad about not really knowing anything about the movement, but at the same time it does make sense. It just gave a lot of insight on the situation.
I loved the contemporariness of The Hate U Give. I mean, aren’t we all annoyed by awkward texts as if we’re still using flip phones? There’s mention of the Jonas Brothers
EEKK THEY USED TO BE MY FAVOURITE BAND!, Taylor Swift, Harry Potter, High School Musical and even Candy Crush! It added a bit of “lightness” without making it too happy and bright and lovely, because it’s not that kind of story.
Like I said before, THUG is an incredibly important – and very real – story. A white cop shoots and kills a black boy without actually having a proper reason to, and gets away with it. It’s a brutal reality of our world portrayed in a book. I was so impressed by all these events, from the boy being shot to everything Starr and her family have to go through. Starr is such an incredible main character. She basically lives a double life. One at home, in her neighbourhood, and one at her high school. There was such a big contrast between these worlds, which made it all the more interesting. Her parents are very protective of her and I don’t think Starr’s ever defied them or did something that went 100% against their wishes/’orders’/ideals. I love how brave she is, and I love it even more that she thinks she’s not braves because she’s scared. I think at that point where she said that, I was about to cry.
Obviously Starr isn’t the only character in the book. I think I loved all of them. Either because I actually loved them or because I loved to “hate” or dislike them. Her family is so incredible, a bit complex, but wonderful all the same. A few characters that stand out to me are Uncle Carlos, who’s a cop who on first name basis with the shooter (as Starr says it) and also pretty much Starr’s second father. Then there’s Chris, Starr’s white boyfriend. I was often annoyed with him, if I didn’t downright dislike him, but in the end I really like him for his bravery for the fact that he stuck around. Then there’s Hailey and Maya. Starr’s ‘fancy’ school friends. Hailey makes some very wrong comments and does some pretty nasty things. I didn’t like her very much, but I liked how Starr handled that situation. As for Maya, she was probably my favourite of Starr’s friends. Also, can we talk about the parents for a minute!? I already mentioned how Starr doesn’t really defy her parents, and it’s true. The parents are the adults and their kids actually listen to them. They have a healthy family dynamic and I love it!
This is without a doubt one of the easiest and most deserved five star ratings. Angie Thomas’ story is exceptionally well written and incredibly important. Everybody and their dogs should read this book. I think this will be one of those books I could just read again and again without getting bored.
About The Hate U Give
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.
Have you read The Hate U Give? What did you think?
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