The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas

This was a book that surprised the group - having found it difficult to enjoy initially, most of us valued it, rating it 3 or 4 out of 5. Comments below are from the Guardian


“Girls wear their hair coloured, curled, laid, and slayed. Got me feeling basic as hell with my ponytail. Guys in their freshest kicks and sagging pants grind so close to girls they just about need condoms ...” Then gunshots shatter the music. Fleeing from the party, 16-year-old Starr is led to apparent safety by her friend Khalil. Shortly after, their car is pulled over by a police officer. What happens next crystalises the Black Lives Matter movement and indeed, the whole debate about race in America. The unarmed Khalil is murdered.

When she was 12, Starr’s parents instructed her on sex education – and on what to do if stopped by the police. “Keep your hands visible,” her father advised. “Don’t make any sudden moves.” It’s unnerving to read that part of the toolkit for raising a black child in America.
What makes this novel so compelling is the way Starr negotiates the relatively safe world of school, where she assimilates despite the soft racism of one or two so-called friends, and how she navigates the dangers of her own neighbourhood.

The first-person narrative is simply beautiful to read, and I felt I was observing the story unfold in 3D as the characters grew flesh and bones inside my mind. The Hate U Give is an outstanding debut novel and says more about the contemporary black experience in America than any book I have read for years.