Book Club Pick: November 2018
Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Series: Stand alone novel
Country: United the States of America
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
First Published: 2017
Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is caught between two words – Garden Heights, her predominantly black impoverished neighbourhood, and Williamson Prep, her affluent, majority-white private school.
She has a white boyfriend Chris from her school that she is keeping a secret from her father. But this secret romance is only a minor subplot in the story.
The focus is the events in Starr’s life after she witnesses the fatal police shooting of her unarmed childhood friend Khalil, following a routine traffic stop.
Thomas splits her 464 page novel into five parts: Part 1: When It Happens, Parts 2: Five Weeks After It, Part 3: Eight Weeks After It, Part 4: Ten Weeks After It, and Part 5: The Decision – Thirteen Weeks After It.
This is a powerful piece for a debut novelist. Thomas began the project as a short story for her senior project at Belhaven University. Her project was in response to the 2009 police shooting of Oscar Grant.
The novel features strong language and drug references, which I believe is appropriate for the nature of the story, but as a result the novel is controversial and appears on challenged / banned book lists.
A feature film adaptation directed by George Tillman Jr. was released in the US last month. It stars Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, KJ Apa, Algee Smith, Lamar Johnson, Issa Rae, Sabrina Carpenter, Common, and Anthony Mackie.