“The Hate U Give,” released as a young adult book in February 2017, was an immediate success for first-time author Angie Thomas. Within a month, the book had sold more than 100,000 copes and now combined book sales and downloads total more than 1 million.
The book is still at the top of the New York Times Young Adult Book List, and is been a steady fixture on the list for 82 consecutive weeks. For bookies, Thomas has a way with words that breathes life into her characters. She brings you to cheers and cheers. It’s hard to imagine the movie could be any better. However, we’ve heard Amanda Stenberg, who plays the book’s lead character Starr Carter, delivers a surprisingly powerful performance.
So what’s this headline grabbing, award-winning best seller about?
Thomas has caught a lot of heck from those who want to label it an “anti-police” book, but Thomas is quick to clarify the book as “anti-police brutality.”
Written in the midst of a stream of deaths of Black men at the hands of police, the story follows young Starr iwho witnesses the shooting death of her childhood friend Khalil at the hands of white cop, as she struggles to come to terms with his death and what, if anything, she should do about it.
Starr, is a young girl living between two worlds, her home, family and friends in the “hood” where she lives, and her world as a student at the predominately White School her parents have sent her to.
The shooting finds her challenging everything she knows and feels about race.
Post the shooting, she’s not sure who to fear the most, her White friends who will certainly judge her if they find out she’s the girl who was in the car with Khalil when he was shot, or the gang leader who makes it clear, he wants Star to keep her mouth shut, and proves he’ll do anything to make it happen.
At school, it’s been easy to leave her other life “over there,” and play into the cool Black kid’s role they’ve thrust upon her. While her White friends accept “her,” teetering on racist’s comments about fried chicken and the All Lives Matter movement, aren’t uncommon to her. Starr also has a White boyfriend, she’s afraid to tell her dad about. Unlike the others, her boyfriend spends the entire movie trying to get close to her and show his support, but Starr holds him at an arm’s length.
Back in the community, Starr has an uncle who is a cop on the force with the man who shot Khalil. Her father is a former gang member who left the group after doing time in prison, and it’s his ex-partner who targeting the family and Starr, to make sure she keeps her mouth shut.
Needless to say, it’s an intense and riveting story that finally finds Starr standing up for what she believes is right, despite the pressure around her.
As one of my favorite quotes from the movie queries, “What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”
Or this quote: “Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”
As you can see, there’s a lot of wisdom for a young, or old, adult to gain from this powerful book and movie.