Author: Nicola Yoon
Reading the Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was an experience I’ve never quite had with a book. Usually, a book creates its own world, even if it looks a lot like the currently weird world on planet earth. And of course, if the book is well-written, it’s easy to get sucked into its world. But The Hate U Give was different, in that the world didn’t feel different at all. It felt like I was reading/watching/witnessing life in this current weird world. Like seeing beyond the news, and into the lives of the communities affected by the killing of young black folks in America. This work of fiction felt like real life.
This book is timely and relevant, not just because I am a black person living in America at a time when it is necessary to tell people that my life matters. But also because it deals with code switching, interracial dating, questions of authenticity, micro-aggressions, gangbanging, and why black people riot when the police kill one of our own for no fucking reason. The Hate U Give follows Starr, a 16 year old black girl from the hood, who witnesses the police kill her unarmed black friend Khalil. If this book were strictly political, I would not be interested, no matter how timely. But the story itself is compelling, the characters are well-developed and fully realized, and there were several moments in which I legitimately bust out laughing. It isn’t pain porn, but rather handles traumatic moments with finesse.