Welcome to our new biweekly column! In SKETCHY REVIEWS, we will be reviewing and celebrating some of our favorite books – giving you a treat for the mind and the eye, with our signature “only-a-little-nonsense” approach. Without further ado…
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas gave me, conversely, zero hate. What it did give me was goosebumps, tear-streaked cheeks, a neck ache from reading/devouring it in a single day, and an overflowing pride in the protagonist, Starr.
Starr Carter is torn between the person she needs to be at her home in bustling Garden Heights; savvy, sharp-tongued, capable and witty, and the person she needs to be in her prestigious-meaning-mainly-rich-and-white school; soft-spoken, tongue-biting and conflicted. Amidst this, Starr’s life is thrust into chaos the night she leaves a party with her best friend and he doesn’t make it home.
The only witness to a palpably heartbreaking instant of racist police brutality, Starr’s world flips around as the police, the media, and high school bears down on her. The two opposing Starrs are set on a collision course, and Starr finds out who, and what, matters enough to fight for. It’s a book you could compartmentalize into boxes like Drama, Crime, Romance, Young Adult, Coming of Age, Politics, and more. The Hate U Give kind of defies boxes, though. If a young girl can survive Starr’s story (and many do), and awful things can happen to wonderful people, and – most importantly – change can be effected despite a whole system established to halt it… then boundaries are pretty much out of a job.
This book was incredible, I can’t recommend it enough. Not just to teen readers, this book is for everyone over 14, and in a warning that’s equal parts exciting and petty; you should read this book before the film comes out. You really don’t have long.
“Starr” Illustration and words by Esmeralda Voegele-Downing