I normally don’t jump on the bandwagon when it comes to book reviews. But this book totally deserves all the praise its received. It speaks to everything that is happening in the United States in terms of racism, police brutality, poverty and the downright anger so many people have right now.
Starr may only be sixteen, but she’s already witnessed two murders in her life: as a child she had to witness her best friend killed in a drive-by shooting and then later her friend Khalil is killed by a police officer after being pulled over in his car. He was unarmed.
The death of Khalil throws Starr and her family into a whirlwind. The media branding him as a drug dealer and a thug. Starr is already living two lives; her one at home in Garden Heights, a neighbourhood known for gangs, poverty and drive by shootings, and then her life at Williamson Prep, a virtually all-white school where she’s labeled an outsider.
From having to face the racist comments of her friend as school, to hiding her secret of being the witness to this deadly shooting from her boyfriend, who happens to be white, Starr is thrown into a tailspin of emotion and turmoil. Starr is afraid of the consequences of telling the truth of what happened that night to police, prosecutors, even her friends—what if police or the Kings gang target her family? What if others think she should just keep quiet? And will speaking up make the difference, especially if most of the time white cops don’t pay the price for shooting black people?
“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”
Although Starr initially tries to remain anonymous as the sole witness to Khalil’s murder she eventually speaks out publicly. Through doing this, she learns so much about herself, her family and even her community. Coming face-to-face with the people who will alway be there for her, and even those who turned out not to be worth being in her life.
I read this whole book in one sitting. I could not put it down. I openly cried during some of the scenes, like Khalil’s murder. This is going to be so blunt, but I truly feel all white people need to read this book. It is so poignant with race relations taking place in the United States right now. From Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, to the need for more Asian characters being portrayed in movies, this book touched on all these themes of racism that are beyond relevant right now in American history. I would even go so far to say this book has as close as a message as “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee did and does.
This book needs to be read by everyone and anyone. It should be part of high school curriculum. We need more books like this! Books that draw attention to the tensions that face America, from racism, poverty, and even police brutality. All I can say is, thank you Angie Thomas!
After reading the book, I had the opportunity to go to the screening of The Hate U Give with a Q&A with the actors, director and author, Angie Thomas, after.
I normally always say the book is better than the movie. In some ways, I am always right, and for this one, I’m right. The Hate U Give book version is better than the movie. Not by much, but in some aspects.
It goes without saying this is a poignant and relevant book and movie for our day in age. The movie completely sticks to the major plot and themes throughout the novel; racism, poverty, police brutality.
One aspect that I didn’t like about the movie was the speed and pace. The book had a good flow, plots had time to breath. Some plots in the movie were fast and even overlooked. Right after Khalil is killed in the movie, there’s a fade to Starr in the police station being questioned by the detectives with her mother. Almost all movies adapted form books lack in some plots and pace.
Second bit I didn’t like about the movie is the character DeVante. Let’s just say, the movie has no DeVante, his character is completely taken out of the movie. It’s not to say DeVante had a huge roll in the book, but his character was vital in some if not the major reason the Carter family decided to move from the Garden Heights neighbourhood.
And there’s number three, the movie doesn’t have the family move from Garden Heights at all. They would rather stay in the community than move somewhere safer. I found this unrealistic as the reasoning and the backing down from Maverick to move was an important moment for the Carter family.
And last but not least, without giving it away, there’s a scene right at the end that’s not in the book. It was done so just for the movie. In my opinion it was not necessary and it actually took away from the book ending. For those who have and will read the book and then go see the movie, you’ll totally know the scene I’m talking about. I actually said during the screening, “this didn’t happen in the book.” I was actually ‘shushed’ but who cares, it was not necessary and I really felt it was wrong.
Let’s recap shall we? The book was life changing, it needs to be in all school curriculums nationwide. The movie was also decent while it had its faults, I’d recommend any and all to go see it.
I was beyond honoured to have had the opportunity to meet the author while at the screening. Not only did I get her signature, but I also got a selfie with her. Please be super jelly and see the photos below! Go read and see Angie Thomas’ book and movie The Hate U Give!