Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.
From the opening few pages, the author ensured she had my attention. Through Starr and her family, I was gripped throughout the remainder.
Whilst a work of fiction, sadly what occurs to Khalil is not. Reading that particular chapter so early on where Khalil is shot by a police officer in front of Starr was both horrific and heart breaking. You would have thought the community would be behind her in speaking up and getting justice for Khalil but sadly the King lords see her as a snitch and it causes a frightening rift between them and Starr and her family.
What an eye opener this story was. Not just the racism which Starr endures from her school friend but the struggle within a community. We are taken into the heart of it and whilst there is in part a sense of community, there is the dark and frightening part with shootings, gang warfare and riots. Residents to scared to speak out or young adults getting involved in the criminal world to save face or get money to support their loved ones.
I loved Starr’s family with her parents wanting the best for their family. I was horrified that as a parent, apart from the usual talks you would have with your child, Starr’s were having to make her aware of how to behave around the police if they were ever to be stopped and questioned. The relationship between her and her brother Seven, I really enjoyed as well as with her boyfriend Chris. It helped you get to know these young characters better and feel their fears and emotions.
The Hate U Give is one powerful read that opened my eyes. At times it is sweet and heartwarming but it also made for some quite scary reading that had me go through an array of emotions. It may be aimed at the young adult market, of which this should be compulsory reading in schools, but it can easily be read by adults also. I know I will take away a lot from this book of which I have to thank the author and Starr for that. It definitely gives you food for thought.