On My Bookshelf: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

November 20, 2017

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas covers so many important topics that are rarely touched upon in young adult literature in realistic ways. Even better is that Starr Carter is a strong African American protagonist supported by family members who are equally as well-developed as characters. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Why I liked it: As an inner-city teacher for many years, The Hate U Give covers so many important topics that are rarely touched upon: racism, racial profiling, gangs, drugs, code switching, interracial relationships, urban decline, black on black violence, police brutality, witness intimidation, and race riots. Not only are these topics addressed, but they are done so realistically; the reader doesn't feel like the author has just tossed them into the plot to spice things up.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas covers so many important topics that are rarely touched upon in young adult literature in realistic ways. Even better is that Starr Carter is a strong African American protagonist supported by family members who are equally as well-developed as characters. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

One of my favorite parts of the novel is the relationship between the main character Starr and her family: Lisa, her mother, Big Mav, her father, Seven, her older half-brother, and her younger brother Sekani. Each family member is as well developed as Starr is and has a unique relationship with her. The family is far from perfect, but throughout their struggles they find ways to compromise and constantly support one another.


Classroom application: Due to the topics addressed and the amount of profanity in the novel, this is one I would only recommend to add to a high school classroom library. If your students have already read and loved this one, I would recommend On The Come Up by Hannah Weyer, which also features a strong African American female as its protagonist. If you are looking for other young adult novels that deal with race and police brutality, this article has some great recent recommendations, which would be perfect for creating themed literature circle choices.

There are so many nonfiction connections that could be made with the topics I listed above, any of which could lead into a research paper or project.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of The Hate U Give for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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