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WHAT ARE YOU READING?

The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas

Starr Carter is an intelligent, thoughtful and engaging teenager with a promising future ahead of her. At sixteen, she faces the complexities and difficulties of balancing the idealism and dreams of youth with the realities of adulthood – which sounds fairly routine for a coming of age novel. But this is a coming of age novel with a difference.

Starr lives in two worlds – worlds so different they might as well be separated by lightyears rather than mere roads. Starr and her family live in the poor, African-American community where they’ve always lived, but she and her brothers attend a posh white school in the suburbs. With a growing sense of conflict and unease, Starr keeps these worlds apart. There is the home Starr, and the school Starr – and they don’t talk the same or think the same or have the same experiences.

And then, one fateful night, the home Starr and Khalill, her friend since childhood, are pulled over by a cop as they’re driving home from a party. Within minutes Khalill has been murdered, and the two worlds stand facing each other over the body of an unarmed boy who was doing nothing more than giving his friend a ride home.

It won’t surprise you to learn that the white policeman’s story of what happened that night – the story taken up by the media – is not Starr’s story of what happened that night. All worlds, of course, have rules. Don’t talk back. Don’t act out. Don’t buck the system. Don’t argue. Don’t snitch. Don’t forget who you are. Don’t forget who they are. To speak out and make the truth heard isn’t always easy. There’s a price to be paid if Starr does speak out, but there is also a price to be paid if she doesn’t. What will Starr do? What would you do?

This is a powerful, nuanced novel about race, politics, societal deceit – and growing up. And Starr Carter is a character you come to think of as a friend.

 

The Hate U Give