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Front Street Teens

The Hate U Give

This is one book to movie story that is absolutely unmissable - The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is a timely and relevant look at what it’s like to live a double life separated by race and social class. Starr is the daughter of a poor black family living in the bad part of an urban neighborhood, but she attends a suburban prep school and is dating a white boy; juggling the two aspects of her life is very difficult, but she makes it work. The two halves of her life are shattered when she witnesses the unprovoked police shooting of her unarmed friend, Khalil. As the only witness, she is the only one who can really say what happened that night, but with pressure coming from both halves of her life, Starr must find a way to speak out and deal with the fallout of the incident. As the case becomes national news, her neighborhood becomes increasingly more violent and new developments are discovered in the story, but Starr is the only one that can bring about the change that needs to come from this case. Even though it puts her and her family in danger, she must speak out to put an end to the violence and speculation surrounding Khalil’s death.

“I’ve seen it happen over and over again: a black person gets killed just for being black, and all hell breaks loose. I’ve Tweeted RIP hashtags, reblogged pictures on Tumblr, and signed every petition out there. I always said that if I saw it happen to somebody, I would have the loudest voice, making sure the world knew what went down.

Now I am that person, and I’m too afraid to speak.” - The Hate U Give

I can’t say enough good things about this book - it’s one of the few that I would suggest to just about anyone because Angie Thomas sheds light on such an important topic in a very tasteful and accessible way. There are of course some heavy topics brought up as well as some swearing, but it all serves to make Starr’s story seem that much more real and relatable. This is a sharp and moving exploration of current events without getting over the top with politics and bias - it explores all aspects of the issue without attaching to any particular idea except that the issue needs to be resolved. What I loved about how Angie Thomas chose to tell this is that it’s not about picking sides, it’s about standing up for yourself and knowing how to choose what’s right, even if that means compromising or putting yourself in danger. A big theme is that what’s right for one situation isn’t always right for every similar situation and that sometimes compromise is necessary in order to come to a solution.

“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.” - The Hate U Give

To read more of my thoughts on the book, check out the Teen Margin Project copy of The Hate U Give (TN THO) and find my comments in the margins. If you loved this story as much as I did, here are some other books that are similar: Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson (TN WAT), Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro (TN OSH), Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Cole (TN COL), The Truth of Right Now by Kara Lee Corthron (TN COR), and All American Boys by Jason Reynolds (Jh REY). If you’re looking for more on Angie Thomas you can find her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram. For more info on the movie, which comes to theaters October 19th, you can find the details on the IMDB page!

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