I am sure no one would be unaware of the police brutality against black and the massive movement about #BlackLivesMatter in 2017. The Hate U Give could be easily one of those books that everyone, irrespective of the age group, should be reading if at all you want to be a part of the change or at least to know how these things happen and affect people.
Starr, a 16-year-old African American kid, is stuck between two worlds. She lives at Garden Heights, a ghetto with gangsters and drug pushers. Her father Big Mav is a former gangster who took a blame and chose to go to prison so that he could get out of the system and lead a normal gang-free life. He wants their ghetto to be better and a safe haven for his kids.
She is one of the two black kids in her rich and predominantly white, prep school. She falls for a white boy, whom she has to hide from her father because he is ‘white’ and has two white best friends. Her mother is a nurse who wants to save her children from the ghetto life by taking them away.
Stuck between the two worlds and parents who have different views about their lives, Starr feels an outsider in both places. Starr understands her lives are universes apart and has never had to choose between them – until the fateful night, her unarmed friend Khalil gets shot by a cop in front of her eyes.
Should she remain silent, as her mother and uncle want her to be, and save herself from the wrath of the public and her own peers at school? Or should she put her life in danger, give a voice to the cause that may lead nowhere?
What do you do when your best friend is being a bully and a racist, intentionally or not? Do you confront her, putting your entire friendship jeopardy or pretend it was unintentional and you are just overreacting? How long can one hide a white boyfriend from your father?
The Hate U Give is essentially a coming of age story in the present American scenario, dealing with racism, bullying and violence. It is inspired by the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, obviously but is much more than that. It is an honest account of a strong black family that has nothing to do with the gangs or drugs but is put to trial because of their skin colour. I do not want to spoil your reading experience by giving out any spoilers.
It is not just the strong storyline that made The Hate U Give the NY! bestseller but the well-written characters and a sprinkle of humour that made the story all the more fun to read. The writing is just perfect for YA, not becoming too political, yet talking about all the main themes like a true social commentary.
Yes, there are few characters that were flat and the ending with the perfect boyfriend was just too good to be true. But hey, those did not seem to be a big issue to me, all things considered. It is, after all, a young adult book that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
As a person who is not living in the USA, I may not have faced such an incident in my real life, but violence and prejudice against colour, cast and creed are no different in any other country. That is one of the things that makes The Hate U Give close to my heart. As someone who doesn’t want to be an unintentional racist or offend anyone without meaning to, this book is an eye-opener. It made me think about my stand and actions on certain topics which is exactly what was expected of this book.
The Hate U Give is surely one of the best books I have read this year 2017. Books like this and Feel me fall makes me gain more faith in the YA genre. I have not stopped raving about this book to anyone I know even though I read this book about a month back. I can not recommend this book enough. READ THIS BOOK.