Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Publication date: 28 February 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/Walker Books
“You matter and your voice matters”
Where to start? THUG, one of this year’s most anticipated releases, surpasses my expectations and is worth all the hype and discussion. Inspired by Black Lives Matter, THUG centres on Starr Carter who witnesses the unjust shooting of her best friend by a white cop, setting up a chain of events that confronts racism and Starr’s inner turmoil and determination to seek justice.
I don’t want to say too much without spoiling. The first pages hooked me in. The writing had a rhythm that was refreshing and there were moments where I found myself rapping them. Starr’s voice is quite strong that from the moment she spoke, she had me listening/reading and took me on a journey through her doubts, fear, pain, tears, and growth.
Starr shines and the other characters do too. I love her family and how supportive they are despite all the bickering. They reminded me of the Weasleys and speaking of that, I enjoyed the Harry Potter references. There are moments of happiness, of normal which, to be honest, I didn’t expect to flow throughout the book. But they didn’t make me forget the dark parts. These moments along with her trauma strengthen Starr and make her solid.
There’s no sugarcoating with the resolution and the racism which is present even in Starr’s relationships. Starr’s white boyfriend Chris struggles with his privilege and assumptions on black people, and her friend Maya lets racist remarks slide while their friendship revolves around Hailey who’s white. Despite differences in heritage, I found Starr and Maya’s experiences resonating with mine as a PoC with a majority of white friends. It is hard to be yourself and be proud of your culture while protecting yourself from hurt (even danger) and yes, you don’t want to be seen as not white or “sensitive”, but Starr grows to be unapologetic and that’s inspiring. None of the characters are perfect but they struggle and eventually try to learn and unlearn to be better. Not all of them do of course.
Ending with powerful and hopeful words, THUG is truly a must-read and an inspiration for PoC writers especially black writers writing diverse/Own Voices stories 🙂
TW: police brutality, racism