#StaffPick: The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give
Angie Thomas
Balzer + Bray, 2017
464 pages
9780062498533
Young adult fiction
Available in print, audiobook, eBook, eAudiobook, and large print formats.

Two black teens are driving home when a police officer pulls them over. The young man is asked to get out of the car and is searched. As he leans into the vehicle to ask his friend if she is OK, the officer shoots and kills him.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas follows Starr, a teenager whose life straddles two conflicting worlds: the poor African-American neighbourhood where she lives, and the mostly-white private school she attends. She struggles to balance her identities, as the contrasting social circles expect her to be two different people. On the tragic day when her unarmed friend is killed by a police officer before her eyes, she is the sole witness. His death becomes a national headline and as Khalil is dehumanized and vilified in the media Starr must decide whether to stay under the radar or speak out.

This emotional, captivating young adult novel is engaging for teen and adult readers alike. It is an eye-opening read, as Khalil’s story parallels the reality of real-world injustices. A movie adaptation was released in 2018, and has a 97% score on Rotten Tomatoes. Thomas’s most recent novel, On the Come Up, was released in 2019.