‘The Hate U Give’ is a read you won’t hate

Amandla Stenberg (right) portrays lead Starr Carter alongside K.J. Apa (left), who plays Chris, in the 2018 movie adaptation of the bestselling novel "The Hate U Give." 

Angie Thomas’s debut novel “The Hate U Give” is a young adult novel that is relevant, well written and worth your time.

“The Hate U Give” deals with tragedy in a way that’s generally unseen in young adult novels. Don’t let the genre trick you — the novel transcends many YA tropes and Thomas excels in creating very human characters, telling an engaging story and weaving a message that is absolutely necessary in today’s political climate.

The novel centers around 16-year-old African-American Starr Carter and her quest for justice after the death of her friend, Khalil, a black boy who is unjustly shot and killed by police. News of Khalil’s death soon spreads like wildfire throughout the country. Of course, this brings up the Black Lives Matter movement and a heavy theme about police brutality against black people. The plot shines in just about every way, and to give any more details would spoil a wild ride. 

One of Thomas’s greatest strengths is the way she writes dialogue. No character in this novel feels like a generic teen. Instead, they each have a distinct voice and a message behind what they’re saying. They feel like real people rather than just characters created to fill space.

Carter’s code-switching, the act of changing one’s language based on context, is one of the most fascinating parts of the novel. She lives in a poor black neighborhood, Garden Heights, but attends a predominately white private school, Williamson Prep. On top of this, she’s dating a white man, Chris, leading to interesting discourse between her family and friends when things become more heated. Importantly, the code-switching never becomes jarring. Instead, it feels natural and incredibly human.

Toward the climax of the novel, things pick up quickly, and it becomes a page turner you won’t want to put down. Thomas’s encapsulating prose is a joy to read. With a great plot to boast, “The Hate U Give” shines in just about every aspect.

“The Hate U Give” is tragic, but uplifting. Carter is a character worth rooting for. The book seeks to inspire and empower just as much as it seeks to educate. It can show tragedy and loss in a heartbreaking way while also equipping readers with skills to fight injustice.

Carter is one of the strongest protagonists to appear in a recent YA novel. Unlike many YA novels, Carter isn’t fighting aliens or trying to survive against 23 other kids. 

Instead, she’s trying to make her voice heard to a population that isn’t listening. 

She’s trying to show the injustices of our criminal justice system, which is a hard task even for general adults, but she powers through every time.

The book is relevant due to tragic, horrid cases of police brutality and terrible injustices in America. 

Whether you’re thinking about Tamir Rice, Michael Brown or Sandra Bland, Carter’s story resonates deeply with real life tragedies. The story of Carter standing up for the unjust death of Khalil is one that people can relate to and look to find a cause in, especially with current events.

 “The Hate U Give” should not be missed. With a movie out now, it is the perfect time to pick it up and have a great weekend read.

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