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  • Writer's pictureJohanna McFarland

The Hate U Give *Book Review*

I'm thrilled to be writing my first book review on such an incredible book. The Hate U Give is inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and carries a powerful message. The book can be found in the "Young Adult" category however, I believe that it's for all ages. When it comes to the Black Lives Matter movement I have been doing work to unlearn the racism that I was blind to for all of my life (my privilege). It's been uncomfortable and hard but has opened my eyes in so many ways. I'll admit if I read this book when I was a "Young Adult" I wouldn't have understood it. I wouldn't have taken away the important messages that the author Angie Thomas shared through the plot of the book. That is the problem.

The book follows sixteen-year-old Starr Carter. Starr lives in a poor neighbourhood and attends a fancy prep school. Throughout the book, you get a look into what a young girl like Starr has to go through when she lives in two very different worlds. The two worlds collide after her childhood friend Khalil is murdered by a police officer in front of her. The murder hits the mainstream media and Starr battles between speaking the truth to get justice for Khalil and flying under the radar to avoid standing out at her school. Starr's parents fight for balance in their children's lives throughout the book. Remaining safe and protected while fighting for justice makes for an impactful story that we can all learn from.

At the beginning of the book the author, Angie Thomas describes the murder. I have never read such powerful words in my life. The way she describes the fear that Khalil and Starr felt when they were pulled over by the officer, brought me to tears. Starr having to watch her friend die on the street after a police officer shot him for no reason made my stomach turn. My tears and stomach pain were brought on by the fact that what was described in the book actually happens in real life.

The author, Angie Thomas is a New York Times Bestselling Author of The Hate U Give, On the Come Up, Concrete Rose, and more. I loved her writing. She has a beautiful way of writing such a powerful message.

"I look at books as being a form of activism. Sometimes they’ll show us a side of the world that we might not have known about."-Angie Thomas

At the beginning of this post I mention that if I read this book when I was younger, I wouldn't have understood it. I want to further explain my reasoning for that... Growing up I was taught that the police protect us. So if a police officer got in trouble for "using force" on the job, I would have justified it in my head. That's FUCKED up to say, but it's true. I would have thought maybe they were confused, maybe the person had a gun and the police officer needed to protect themselves. The reality is that black people are instantly seen as law-breakers. That's the way our systems have been built. They are not given the same chances that white people and other races are given. No matter how you spin it, that's the reality. The system is broken and we need to fix it. We all need to do better because BLACK LIVES MATTER.

The book was heavily inspired by Tupac's activism and phrase; THUG LIFE. The acronym for T.H.U.G L.I.F.E translates to The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everyone.

I give this book 5 stars. It was the heaviest-light read I have ever experienced (that makes sense in my head). I felt honoured to have read such an impactful story. Highly recommend.

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