Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
This book is so relevant. It’s told from a black girl’s point of view, but it’s for everyone. Starr is in the car with an unarmed boy who is shot and killed by a cop. The boy was faultless in the shooting. The officer has a preconceived belief of what kind of person he is. The story doesn’t imply that all police officers are corrupt or all black Americans are innocent. The storyline shows good and bad people in her neighborhood, family, school and everywhere. Her uncle is a policeman. He’s decent and moral. Her brother’s father is a gangbanger who terrorizes the neighborhood. Her boyfriend is white and treats her great. One of her friends is white and turns out not to be a friend. Some of the characters are drug dealers and racists. Some are trying to help end the negative cycles. It’s an honest look into situations that need attention. I didn’t feel any hate coming through, but the struggles and love are evident. It moved me emotionally over and over. The storyline isn’t a downer even though it deals with with tragedy and heavy matters. Fun and lighter moments are there too. The Hate U Give is a must read for teens and adults. It highlights important issues without compounding the negativity and definitely inspires change and empathy.