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The Hate U Give: 07/22/17
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas as of writing this review has nearly thirty-thousand ratings on GoodReads. It's one of the breakout hits of 2017. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement on Twitter and Tumblr, this book covers the way the police killing of a black teen tears apart a neighborhood, starting with Starr, who was in the car when it happened.
While it's Khalil who pays the ultimate price — being shot while reaching for his comb during a traffic stop — it's Starr who will be dogged by the fact that she was a witness and a friend. Starr, like her uncle, lives in two worlds — her working class, primarily black neighborhood — and her primarily white, wealthy, private school. She lives her life always aware of where she is — code shifting — being as formal and proper as possible at school and among her classmates, and being less formal with her friends, family, and neighborhood. It's something everyone does — but when you're ______ while Black, it's a survival skill.
What struck me most about The Hate U Give was how active Starr is on Tumblr. Thomas, who is active on both platforms, is the first author I've read who realistically portrays the online/offline culture of both. Actual threads, campaigns, and memorials are mentioned in the book. This book is very much grounded in the time in which it's written, in the same way that Towers Falling does.
I hope The Hate U Give ends up on school curricula across the country. It needs to be read. It needs to be discussed. I also look forward to whatever else Angie Thomas might write.