I have been on the waitlist to get a copy of this for months and months and was so excited to finally read it. I was even more excited to see that Angie Thomas won two Goodreads Choice Awards for her work shortly afterwards. Well deserved!
“Pac said Thug Life stood for ‘The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody’.”
Starr Carter lives in a rough neighborhood, Garden Heights, with her mother and former gangbanger father but attends a private school in a nicer neighboring town because her parents wanted her to have a better life than they did. Starr struggles to belong in either world and, while driving home from a party in Garden Heights, her childhood friend is shot by a cop with no cause while Starr watches helplessly from the passenger seat. This tears Starr apart and further complicates the relationships she has with her classmates, especially her white boyfriend. The boyfriend, Chris, was probably the worst part of the book, he was thinly drawn and was essentially a caricature of white boy trying to be black.
In the weeks that follow his death Khalil is accused of being a drug dealer and “deserving” to be shot. Since Starr keeps her witness status quiet her school friends openly share these views with her which further isolates her. Starr learns a lot about herself, her friends and her family during the weeks that follow Khalil’s murder and, despite being threatened by the local drug kingpin, Starr testifies to a grand jury about the events leading up to Khalil’s death.
“Brave doesn’t mean you’re not scared. It means you go on even though you’re scared.”
This is a tough book but an important book, especially for the YA audience. The ending, in particular, is realistically unsatisfying.