Book Review: The Hate You Give


Arlet Cruz, Assistant Editor

RACIAL PREJUDICE IS AN ALL TOO KNOWN REALITY FOR MANY CITIZENS OF AMERICA AND AROUND THE WORLD. Racial inequity is an ever-present topic in the media highlighting areas of growth in our society.  Angie Thomas’ novel, The Hate U Give, highlights just how necessary change is.  

Starr, the main character, lives in two different worlds as she attends a preparatory school in the suburbs that had a very scarce popularity of African Americans while residing in a poverty-stricken neighborhood. Starr’s empowering story focuses on police violence and brutality, racism, and activism after she witnesses her childhood best friend, Kahlid, murdered unlawfully in front of her. Starr is the only person who can give a truthful testimony, but no one will hear her. Thomas’ story reveals stereotypes and prejudices that lead to and wrongfully justify discrimination against African Americans. As a  protagonist, Starr Carter is characterized as an empowering young woman who goes through her life understanding the precautions Black people must take to attempt to mitigate the dangers of racial inequity. The novel opens with the trauma of  Starr’s cautioning  Khalid about what to do when a police officer approaches the car: “put your hands on the wheel and do as they say.” Ultimately, dangerous stereotyping and racial profiling  lead to Khalid’s unjustifiable death when his hair brush is mistaken for a gun and he is shot.. 

In addition to unapologetic commentary on racial discrimination, Thomas also includes an important father-daughter relationship, one where Starr learns about the racist system through his experience. In their conversations, Starr emerges with the mind of an activist. The book’s  intense imagery emphasizes differences between her school in Williamson and her home in Garden Heights. As the settings shift Starr code switches to conform to the expectations of starkly different cultures. This novel’s relevance connects to the tension between people of color and the officials who are expected to protect and preserve humanity’s safety and basic rights . The Hate U Give serves as a young activist’s perspective as she learns to navigate an unfair system and racially divided world.