Note: This review contains spoilers regarding The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.
I decided to read this book after reading a few reviews about it on here, and let me say I was not disappointed. This book is amazing.
The novel is narrated by Starr, who is the only person to witness the fatal shooting of her friend Khalil by a police officer. The novel follows her as she goes through this experience as well as looking at how she balances her home life in a poor neighbourhood overrun by gang wars and her school life in a posh, predominantly white school.
Like I said, I loved this novel. Recently I have been struggling with single character narration (I have much preferred split narration like in One of us is Lying and Carry On) but Starr was an incredible character. She was strong but she was flawed (exemplified by the section where she admits that she was ashamed of where she came from) and she grew as a person as the novel progressed, becoming more comfortable and more proud in her own skin – I especially love the part where she realises that being ashamed of where she came from means being ashamed of herself to which she responds:
Nah. F**k that.
I also really loved the relationships in this novel. There was of course the romantic relationship between Starr and Chris which was a constant presence in the novel but didn’t dominate at all which was great. The novel also discussed platonic friendship: there was the falling out between Starr and Hailey (I was so upset/disappointed when Hailey apologised because Starr was upset with her, rather than because of what she had done), the coming together of Maya and Starr and the growth of the friendship between Kenya and Starr.
Then of course, there were the familial relationships which were just amazing. In so many YA novels I have read, parents have been largely absent or incompetent so to read a book where the main character not only has such incredible parents (including Uncle Carlos) but loves and is grateful for their parents is really nice. It’s great how through the narration you can see how much Starr loves her parents and it is so sweet when she calls her parents her OTP.
Then, of course there is Seven. Not only is Seven himself a great character, wanting to take responsibility for everyone he loves and look after them even to a fault, but the relationship between Seven and Starr’s mum is also amazing. I think it would have been so easy to have a situation where Starr’s mum resented Seven but her love for him is absolutely beautiful and it is clear that it goes both ways.
There are so many more amazing relationships and relationship developments in this novel, I could go on for ages. For example, I love how easily Uncle Carlos and Starr’s dad put their differences aside because they simply decide that Starr is more important. The relationship that develops between DeVante and Carlos towards the end of the novel is also incredibly sweet.
Aside from individual characters, there is also the relationship and unity between the residents of Garden Heights. I’m not going to lie, I cried when everyone stood up and said that they had seen King torch Maverick’s store.
This novel was just amazing. It was educational and emotional and even though Kahlil didn’t get the justice he deserved, I feel like the ultimate message of the novel was one of hope.
All I can do, is recommend everyone go out and read this novel.
Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.