The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Published by Balzer + Bray on February 28, 2017
Genre(s): fiction, contemporary, young adult
Format & Length: hardcover, 444
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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.
The Hate U Give has been on my radar for quite some time. There’s been so much hype around this book, you’d probably have to be living under a rock not to have heard at least some of it.
As curious as I was, I never got around to actually picking the book up before the movie came out. So when a friend wanted to see the movie, I decided to bite the bullet and just watch the movie first. And I really enjoyed it! Despite being on the long side at over two hours, it kept my attention. Not only that, it evoked a full range of emotions and had me thinking about it long after.
After that experience, I was eager to finally read the book and requested a copy from my library. It arrived, and I began reading. And I’m sorry to say I was disappointed. The writing style didn’t gel with me and I ultimately put this down after reading 150 pages. I don’t know if it’s just because I watched the movie first but I found it to be a bit… boring. To be fair, though, I’ve read other books after having watched their movie adaptations and still preferred the book.
I realize this is an incredibly unpopular opinion; The Hate U Give has gotten a lot of love. But in this case, I personally felt the movie was stronger. If I had to make a recommendation, it would be this: if you’re interested in both reading the book and watching the movie, read the book first! Hopefully you’ll have a better experience than I did.