Through the main character Starr, whose family lives in the projects while she attends a private school in the burbs, Angie Thomas’ THE HATE U GIVE delivers a unique perspective to YA readers.
Starr has learned to separate her school and home personas. At school, where she is a minority in both race and resource, Starr struggles to fit in on her own terms.
“If a rapper would say it, she doesn’t say it, even if her white friends do. Slang makes them cool. Slang makes her ‘hood.’” At home, she uses street slang and reframes her priorities to be accepted.
Starr works hard for the worlds not to collide, knowing her father would never understand how she could date a white guy and her school friends would never understand parts of her reality, like seeing a dear friend killed in a drive-by as a young child.
As a reader, you feel how exhausting it is, and how uncomfortable she is with the duality: “There are just some places where it’s not enough to be me. Either version of me.”
When tragedy lands her a spotlight in the Black Lives Matter movement, Starr is forced to merge her identifies and establish what and who in her life is real and lasting. It is warming to watch this young lady make sense of a world that often makes no sense by learning to express herself.
It seems like they always talk about what he may have said, what he may have done, what he may not have done. I didn’t know a dead person could be charged in his own murder, you know?
THE HATE U GIVE made me think. And cry. And cringe at the widely varying experience Americans have depending on their zip code and race.
After working for years in technology, Abby turned to writing, and in 2017 her debut novel, I LIKED MY LIFE, was published by St. Martin’s Press. She’s also a human rights advocate, and when she’s not busy watching “the comedy show that is her children,” she manages to find time for one of her favorite activities, reading. Visit Abby’s website.