Publication:February 28th 2017 by Balzer & Bray/Harperteen
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.
The Hate U Give is such an important, powerful and impactful read and one that will stay with me for a long time. The hype around THUG has been crazy since it's release in April and I can say that it is defining worth the hype.
THUG was such an eye opener for me because stuff like what Starr goes through doesn't happen in Ireland but unfortunately horrific stuff like this does in other parts of the world and obviously I'm not ignorant I've seen stuff on the news and internet but reading it made it so much more real for me even though it's fiction. I don't think a reader can come out of this book without having their thoughts challenged or changed, numerous times I thought 'I've never thought of it that way before' or 'that makes sense, why have I never thought of that before?' etc.
THUG tackles lots of important issues that need to be talked about such as racism, aspects of white privileged that I had never even considered, discrimination, prejudice, police brutality and more. These topics are often shied away from by authors for fear of offending people and I'm so glad I've found a book like THUG that had got lots of conversation going about these issues.
The plot of THUG is quite slow as it is a contemporary and I do think it could have been condensed a bit, 500 pages felt very long to me. But despite it being long I was fully engaged the whole time and couldn't stop reading. It also got very intense and scary at times because I'd be reading and stop and think 'wait this happens in real life, maybe not where I live but this is some people's reality' and that's so scary to me. There was some scenes that were very tense and gripping and I was utterly captivated but also appalled by the stuff going on at the same time.
I really liked Starr's character arc, in the beginning she's afraid to speak out but slowly learns what it means to have a voice and to use it. I am Irish as well as white so I have the privilege of not having to deal with stuff Starr has to deal with but reading about her experience gave me a new understanding of police brutality as well as racism in general. I couldn't relate to her too much but I loved watching her grow over the course of the story and seeing her struggle and overcome various things. She is super admirable and a role model for all readers.
I also loved how big a focus family was in the story. The family dynamic was so realistic. I loved how the siblings interacted with each other by teasing one another and being protective of each other. I also appreciated how big a role Starr's parents played and how much she talks about them and spends time with them.
I felt like the writing was average, it wasn't flowery or over the top it was just fine but there were some really good and empowering lines here and there. In the beginning I found it hard to get into because there is a lot of slang and lingo I am not used to reading but I did get over it and it wasn't a problem for long.
I'm not going to lie, I did feel uncomfortable reading parts of The Hate U Give because so much of it was so different from my own life as a white Irish girl who has had very limited interactions with black people (theres one black girl in my primary school class and 2 in secondary school and now in college there is none in my course which has 450 students, I also live in a rural-ish place were there is a tiny percentage of black people). But feeling uncomfortable can be a good thing though, it has made me more aware of how I treat people.
I learned so much from reading The Hate U Give. It is such an eye opening and thought provoking read. I would highly recommend it for everyone.
My rating: 4.5 stars
Thanks for reading,