“Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means you go on even though you’re scared.”
Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give
From the moment I first picked up The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and skimmed the description on the back, I knew it wouldn’t be like any of the other books I’ve read recently. From the first page, Thomas skips unnecessary introductions and plunges the reader into the life of Starr Carter, an African American teen struggling to survive in her rough neighborhood, while also trying to fit in at her suburban prep-school. At first, I had trouble connecting with Starr; after all, my life as a privileged, middle-class, caucasian girl is nothing like hers. But, it didn’t take long for the tough persona she puts on around her neighbors to slip away, allowing me to see her for who she really is: an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances. The more relatable Starr became to me, the more I fell in love with the book. Because of the privilege I’ve been surrounded by all my life, I had never really thought much about the stories in the news about shootings in inner-city neighborhoods. I never questioned what could be happening behind the scenes of the stories about police brutality. Angie Thomas tells the side of these stories that usually goes untold, while keeping it relatable and realistic. I could imagine that I was with Starr when she was riding home from a party with her friend Khalil, that I too watched as he was shot and killed by a police officer after being pulled over for speeding. I felt like I was with her as she struggled to handle her grief and anger, and I was cheering her on when she decided to fight for justice. Every time Starr made an effort to be brave despite her fear, I also felt empowered. My favorite part about The Hate U Give is how it portrays such a weighty issue so honestly and beautifully, while still leaving a smile of my face. For a book with such a somber beginning, it avoids slipping into a “dark” territory by including a constant message of hope, loyalty, and love.
Abby S., EO Blogger