Angie Thomas’ outstanding best-selling novel, The Hate U Give, was inspired by the #BlackLivesMatter movement, and Tupac Shakur’s break down of the acronym “T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E.”. Tupac explained that the acronym stands for, “The Hate U Give Little Infants ‘Effs’ Everybody.” This descriptor means that the lack of opportunities the minority class are given ends up blowing up in their face. The protagonist, sixteen-year-old Starr witnesses her best friend Khalil get shot and killed by a police officer. She struggles with whether to speak up for Khalil, because of the fear, anger, and confusion she deals with. This is a frustrating, heartbreaking, and extremely powerful, book making it difficult to put down. The sensitive topics that discussed such as police brutality against minorities, justice, and racism, make people stop ignoring the problems that occur all around us and finally, educate themselves.
This riveting novel tells a story about a girl who struggles to find her voice in two opposing communities, between Garden Heights, an impoverished, predominantly black neighborhood she lives in, and Williamson Prep, a primarily white private school where most of them are wealthy. Starr struggles with portraying two different versions of herself depending on what audience she is speaking to, and navigating both worlds. She talks about trying to keep those two worlds separate because she doesn’t want them interfering with themselves. One thing that really impressed me about Angie Thomas’ writing was her imagery. For example, when the police officer shoots and kills Khalil, his eyes go lifeless as his body jerks and drops to the ground. The simple description of his body, combined with the dreadful image, reveals the importance of the situation, and the tragedy just lost. “One. Khalil’s body jerks. Blood splatters from his back…Three. Khalil looks at me stunned… Khalil stares at the sky as if he hopes to see God. His mouth is open like he wants to scream.” (Thomas 24).
I would rate this book a four point five out of five because of the powerful message that because there never was social justice served in the past, there isn’t justice being served now. Furthermore, I have never read a book with such well-rounded and compelling characters. Although, I didn’t rate it 5 out of 5 because of the pacing is inconsistent. Some parts of the novel Thomas dragged on, while some hugely important issues only had a small section. This simple yet powerful quote Thomas wrote for Starr sums up the whole novel, “Khalil, I’ll never forget. I’ll never give up. I’ll never be quiet. I promise.”