Updated: Aug 20, 2022
The Hate U Give
The Hate U Give, #1
Released February 28, 2017
**NOTE: I typically only cross–post reviews from GR when a book is an ARC or was exchanged for a review. With that being said, I'm cross–posting, as THUG is a good book on an important topic.
5+ fricking stars!
This book. Was. SO. GOOD!!
Aside from being about such an important topic (which I'll get into in a bit), the aspects of good writing and worldbuilding are spot on. Like, honestly, Angie Thomas has FLAWLESS writing!
Also, there were so many great quotes! My favorite? This one:
Before I get into the bones of the review, but I do need to preface something first.
I am not white, but my experience has largely been that of a white person's. I'm blessed to have a pretty good life, but that also means that I can never fully understand Starr's experiences. I get that, so if I say anything that isn't quite right, please RESPECTFULLY tell me in the comments on my GR review.
Okay, on to the review! :)
World Building ~ 9/10
The world building is just SPOT ON! AT does a fantastic job at emphasizing the differences between Garden Heights, or "the Garden," and Williamson. The juxtaposition between them simply highlights just how different they are; if the settings were characters, you'd undoubtedly say they'd be foils for each other.
But just don't take my word for it. Look at Starr and who she has to be. At the Garden, she's simply herself, but at Williamson, she has to stay composed so she isn't called an "angry black girl." The internal conflict about who Starr can be is both fantastic character development but also very subtle, but very powerful world building.
I love the amount of description and nuance given to the Heights (the people, the store, the parties, etc.), but I simply wish more of that nuance was show to Williamson. I think it would have added more a stark contrast between the two.
Nonetheless, the world building as it stands is amazing!
Characters ~ 10/10
I just LOVE these characters!!!! Starr, her parents, Seven, Sekani, DeVante, obviously Khalil, and loads more!! Obviously, Starr's the MC, so I have to highlight her soon, and I can't not talk about Khalil, but let me first gush about some other characters.
First, I absolutely love Seven and Sekani! They're super funny, and I love how close they all are as a family. Like any real family, they have their issues, and we see some of them. They fight amongst themselves; they get in trouble. Sekani even has a swear jar! I just loved seeing all these family scenes, especially my favorite — the basketball game. The mom with her tub of ice cream, goading Starr and Maverick with it. Simply hilarious! These small scenes just make me love them all so much more! Perhaps more importantly, it really makes them real people.
I also love DeVante and Maya! They were just great people. DeVante, whom we don't actually meet until later, is just . . . he's just . . . Well, he's him. Oof, I'm not sure how to describe him without spoilers. But let's just say that I love everything he's done for his family. I like how similar he is to Seven.
Also, my girl Maya!! I just love how she stayed so close to Starr even throughout all Starr's crap. I also love that she decided to stand up for herself. She's simply just amazing!
On another note, I hate King and Hailey. No words. They don't deserve any.
My girl Starr!!! I just love her. I loved reading her perspective and her struggles to fit in at Williamson. I also loved reading her growth and her thought process in deciding what to do about Khalil. Seeing her thought process really makes her character develoment that much more interesting.
I found it really interesting all those times she broke at Williamson and was more herself. I liked seeing the aftermath — what she did, what happened with her friendships, and how Starr moved on.
The only thing I like less about Starr is Chris, but I'll get more into that under Relationships.
Last thing I'll say about Starr, but I really liked that AT chose to write it from Starr's POV. I think just being to see all of Starr's thoughts and experiences helped me to really understand better the experiences of black people and other marginalized peoples. I'll never fully understand, but I feel like this helps me take steps in the right direction. Her experiences are nonetheless extremely thought–provoking.
I so loved Khalil! AT did a fantastic job at creating a real person within the first few pages. Then, when Khalil died, it made it hurt so much more! I feel like sometimes authors kill off characters early, without giving them enough characterization to make us readers either love or hate them. This is NOT the case with AT. I appreciated all those subtle hints dropped throughout leading up to his murder; it really made me love Khalil.
I also loved learning more about him over the course of the novel. It sometimes seems that the authors who neglect characterization prior to a death are able to add good characterization after the death. However, AT does both! Her characterization of Khalil both before and after his murder is just amazing!
It just makes his murder that much sadder and that much worse.
Plot ~ 9/10
The plot was very closely intertwined with Starr's character development. With that being said, there's not a whole lot more for me to say. Nonetheless, I loved the plot.
I greatly enjoyed seeing Starr's journey from the murder to the questioning to the end result and everything in between. I think the interaction with the King Lords and the Garden Disciples just added to the complexity and turmoil — but in the best possible way. It never felt like there was too much going on. It all felt realistic and believable.
Relationships ~ 9/10
Pretty much every relationship was just flawless. All except one. Starr and Chris, which I'll rant about in a second.
Every other relationship, though, was great. I loved seeing how close Starr was with her family and extended family. I loved seeing how Starr and Maya bonded. I also loved seeing how protective Seven and DeVante were of their families. These relationships were top notch.
However, **SPOILER REDACTED**.
~Starr & Chris~
Okay, I did not like this relationship. At all. It really just seemed to forced. And I don't really think that's the author's fault; rather, I'd like to think that's how it was supposed to be. I don't think Starr and Chris were the most compatible couple. I liked how Chris kept trying to understand Starr and her experiences; I really do. However, I'm not convinced they work as a couple. Friends? Definitely. More? Not really.
Also, I really felt like there was nothing there between Starr and Chris. Honestly, I didn't get much chemistry from them either. Not sure if that's intentional or not, though.
So, the lack of chemistry and the relationship issues just didn't sell me on this ship. :\
Prose & Pacing ~ 10/10
Both the prose and pacing were spot on! I simply devoured AT's writing; it really just flowed right off the page!
I'm not sure what else I can say that I haven't already, so I'll just leave this section as it is.
Overall, I absolutely LOVED The Hate U Give, and it is soooo worth the hype! If you haven't jumped on the bandwagon and read this, do it! Do it now!
Full review posted to Goodreads
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