The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

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Title: The Hate You Give

Author: Angie Thomas

Genre: YA/Family/Suspense

Rating: ****

Review: The opening to The Hate You Give was brilliant, we meet Starr and her friend Kenya at a party in their neighbourhood. Starr feels very uncomfortable at this party because it’s not what she is used to. We learn that Starr leads to lives; one in her poor black neighbourhood and her posh white school and how she copes with living in both these circles at the same time. I didn’t really like Kenya at first because she was very pushy and pressured Starr to do things she wasn’t comfortable doing but nothing really happens as the party is broken up when gunshots are heard and the kids scatter.

As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel things take a dark turn as Starr’s friend Khalil is shot by the police for no reason and Starr is the only witness to the crime. Starr’s father who used to be involved with gangs tells her to lay low for a while and not to tell anyone what she saw that night. This isn’t the first shooting that Starr witnessed she saw her friend Natasha being shot by the gang a few years earlier but this one hits Starr extremely hard. I loved seeing Starr’s family as they are all extremely supportive, I found her father amazing because he got out of gang life and makes a honest living with his shop and her brother Seven despite being the usual older brother is actually always thinking about Starr’s welfare. We see Starr agree to talk to the detectives about the shooting which is the main focus in her life but we also see she is also dealing with a lot of other things like having two different groups of friends that don’t mix and peer pressure towards sex.  We also the Garden Heights community really come together to support Khalil’s family and we also see the community become very afraid of the police in this time. When Starr gives her statement to the police we can see the police officer are siding with their colleague and don’t really have much interest in what Starr is telling them.

As we cross the ¼ mark in the novel Starr and the entire Garden Heights neighbourhood attends Khalil’s funeral which really breaks Starr because two of her best friends have been killed in shootings. At the funeral they meet a justice group fighting for Khalil’s justice because the police have decided not to arrest the officer that killed Khalil despite Khalil being unarmed at the time of his death. A lot of rumours also surface including that Khalil had a gun which Starr knows is false and that he was a King Lord which is sort of confirmed at his funeral. We also learn how Starr’s father got out of gang life and how he is trying to help DeVante do the same thing but it causes tension between Starr’s parents. Her mother only wants what is best for her children and thinks moving away from the neighbourhood would be the right thing to do so her children can have a semi-normal life, but her father wants to stay and help people even with the almost daily riots and shootings.

As we approach the half way mark in the novel we see Starr facing many decisions about whether or not she should speak out for Khalil. We also see the white kids at her school uses Khalil’s death for their own gain but a few including Chris don’t get involved and neither does Starr. We also see the police targeting any black people they come across including Starr’s father at one point not because he had done anything wrong but because of who he is. We also see the true reason DeVante is in hiding and the power of the King Lords. DeVante also tells Starr that Khalil wasn’t a King Lord but he actually turned down King and the only reason Khalil was selling drugs for them was because his mother was in debt with the gang and he offered his service to save her. One thing that really got me though was when Starr is talking to her lawyer before speaking to the DA and she realises the object the police officer thought was a gun was actually a hairbrush, and this really makes Starr angry that her friend died for nothing.

As we cross into the second half of the novel we see Starr begins talking to the DA after a TV interview given by the police officer’s father airs making Starr so angry at all the lie they are spewing out. We also see Starr confide more in her parents about how she is feeling and how she is coping with this entire situation. The relationship between Starr and her father is amazing, we see he is literally willing to put his life on the line to protect his family and help the people he cares about. Although after another threat from King he finally agrees that it may be better to move away from the neighbourhood but only is Starr’s mother gets this new job with a great salary. We also get to see a better picture on how the white people reacted to Khalil’s murder and how the black community reacted to the killing. I also liked the fact that Thomas looks at how this singular event and its consequences affected interracial couples like Starr and Chris.

As we approach ¾ mark in the novel we jump forward in time to just before the Grand Jury. We see Starr battle with her decision to speak out about Khalil’s shooting but she is being extremely brave. In her TV interview she all but names King as a drug dealer and gang lord, she also clears up the rumours about why Khalil was selling drugs in the first place and it helps win the support of the people. Although there is someone trying to scare Starr out of talking to the Grand Jury, her family’s support and her love for Khalil drive her to do what is right not what is easy. As she sits before the Grand Jury and tell her story Starr is so scared but the one thing that give her courage is that Khalil’s parents are there and that she isn’t do this for herself she is doing it for them and the son they will never see grow into a man. I liked the fact that Starr feels safe enough to open up to Chris and tell him about Khalil and Natasha’s death and how they affected her and he promises he will be by her side through it all and prom turns out to be the best night of her life despite everything else that is going on in her life right now.

As we cross into the final section of the novel we just forward in time once again. While Starr waits for the verdict from the Grand Jury she continues life as normal until Hailey her ex-friend starts saying that Khalil deserved to die and Starr loses it beating her up and when Seven steps in to protect her from Remy all four end up getting suspended from school. We also see Maverick become an activist of sorts getting the gangs together to provide some show of unity so that the violence within Garden Heights will calm down. When the decision is announced all hell breaks loose but Starr and the other know everything is going to be alright because they are going to use their biggest weapons; their voices and they aren’t ever going to give up. All because they know they are the voices for the people like Khalil who had their voices silenced.

Overall, I enjoyed The Hate You Give and the positive messages it sends. It also makes some extremely relevant points in relation to police accountability, the Black Lives Matter movement and tons of other things, but I have to admit at times I was bored because there wasn’t anything happening. I loved all the characters and the banter between them and the way Thomas examines relationships and race and how our decisions affect others. I would recommend THUG because I feel it’s a really important book but it does really heavily on the exterior messages but there isn’t much in the way of plot.

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