Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

TheHateUGiveCoverOfficial Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.

Genre: Young Adult (but this is a book that everyone should read), Contemporary Fiction
Setting: Modern day Garden Heights and Riverton Hills (I could never figure out if these were real places, or a fictional setting within the novel. The setting feels very real.)
My copy came from: I borrowed a copy from my local library.

Review: Stunning, powerful, and shines a light on an issue that needs to be discussed. The Hate U Give is a book that everyone is raving about. I don’t think I’ve seen a bad review of this book. The Hate U Give is a fairly new release, it came out in February, and it has massively high ratings on both Amazon and Goodreads. The book is told in first-person, narrated by sixteen-year-old Starr Carter, who witnesses her friend get killed by a cop. This is a timely issue, one that seems to be happening far too often.

An earsplitting scream emerges from my gut, explodes in my throat, and uses every inch of me to be heard.

I went into this book thinking that it would be a powerful read, and it most certainly was, but the book is also a wonderful story of family and love. In YA books, many times the family dynamic is either missing entirely, or the parents are portrayed as ridiculous and out-of-touch, and the children show zero respect or love for their parents and/or siblings. I can happily say that The Hate U Give has an extremely strong family core. Starr lives with her parents, Maverick and Lisa, as well as her older half-brother, Seven, and her younger brother, Sekani. Her parents are obviously in love with each other, and obviously care about their children. They want to know what is happening in their kids’ lives, they talk to their kids; they discipline and teach their kids. The kids love and respect their parents, looking up to them for guidance. The siblings love each other, but also get exasperated with each other, and I thought young Sekani’s antics were hilarious and typical of a younger brother. It was so refreshing to read what felt like a real family dynamic. In other YA books, the only other family dynamics that I’ve read that come close to what this felt like are the Weasley family from Harry Potter, and perhaps Lydia’s family from The Serpent King.


In terms of characters, I loved Starr, the main character who narrates the novel. Her voice felt real as she struggles with life in Garden Heights and her private schooling in the rich community of Riverton Hills, and dealing with the aftermath of being a witness to her friend’s killing. Other characters I loved were Big Mav, Starr’s father, who is an ex-con and runs the local grocery store, and Lisa, Starr’s mother, a nurse who drives her kids to school 45 minutes away so they can get a good education. I also loved Seven, Starr’s older brother, and Uncle Carlos, Starr’s uncle who happens to be a detective, and knows the cop who killed Starr’s friend, and so that brings another dynamic into the whole situation.

I can’t believe I let Hailey say that. Or has she always joked like that? Did I always laugh because I thought I had to?
That’s the problem. We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?

The only negative thing I can say about the book, and this is just personal preference, but there was a lot of swearing in the book. Like a LOT! Starr and the people around her swear quite a bit (it was super cute to have Starr’s younger brother be on the lookout for people swearing so he could get a dollar in the swear jar), but the swearing was a bit much for me.

All in all, this is a very strong and powerful book with an important message and I think everyone should read this. I learned a lot in this book, and the powerful message is one that everyone should read.

Bottom Line: Stunning and powerful with a good message and great characters. A must read.

Links to The Hate U Give on  Amazon |   Goodreads

Have you read The Hate U Give? Are you in love with Starr’s family? Which character was your favorite?


21 thoughts on “Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

  1. Great review! I loved the family dynamics in this too. Close families are rare in YA and it was so refreshing to see in THUG.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is a brilliant book and I do agree that the swearing is a bit much but seems to be more accepted in YA books these days. The story is such an important one to read, I love the fact it doesn’t shy away from a very real topic in today’s society. Great review!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

        1. I would argue it has more to do with economic situations. My elementary and middle schools had a lot of poorer students coming in, so they swore like sailors then. In high school, it was about 50/50, but it was a nicer school that received a lot of money each year to make improvements thanks to a nearby casino.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks! Yeah this one was a great read. Swearing I think is more accepted in YA because like Grab the Lapels says, that’s how teens talk, and teens are the primary audience for YA. Too much swearing just bugs me all around, as I get frustrated by the same words being used over and over, but I know that’s how a lot of teens talk.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s interesting though as some YA books, still have very little swearing in them. I wonder if it depends on what age it’s targeted at, older versus younger teen or maybe depends on the publisher?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I like that you point out the family dynamic. I get really tired of stories–and for me, it’s mostly ones I see in movies because I don’t tend to read YA–in which the kid is so alone and the parents are absent. But, when things get really bad, the parents magically appear and tell the kid how much he/she is loved and how the parents felt watching from afar would help the kid grow up, but the parents were always right there all along. What, like a guardian angel?? Parents aren’t magical shoulder deities!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep! I think the family dynamic was a big part of why I loved this book so much. I was not expecting that aspect of the book at all (and my word, that’s a harsh statement to make about YA books in general – but when I can count on one hand the YA books with close families it’s unfortunately accurate, but I don’t read as much YA as a lot of bloggers do.), and it’s funny that so many bloggers & readers mention the strong/close family in THUG, and how much we loved it, and yet I don’t see YA moving in a direction where more family dynamics are a part of the story. Which is odd, because family plays such a large role in all of our lives (in different ways). I’m tired of just seeing family being portrayed as a negative in YA. I don’t know why that is!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think a family presence would stop a lot of the drama happening that occurs in YA. Teens can’t run around wild or live a hardened life or save the world when Mom and Dad are telling them what to do. I think Lectito actually wrote a post about all the YA books that don’t have parents. She pretty much reads all YA and Thriller books, so I trust her opinion.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Great point about the parents stopping the drama. I can see that, and see why it would be easier to have the parents be distant/nonexistent for the story.
          OOh I’ll have to check out her site & see if I can find that post. I can’t remember if I read it or not, and it sounds interesting.


  4. I’ve been thinking about picking this one up but I just haven’t. And hearing there is a lot of swearing in it puts me off a bit (I don’t like it either). Definitely think it would be worth a read though. Might try to get it from the library 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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