United By Pop received a free copy of The Hate U Give in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are our own.
Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Overall rating: 5/5
Great for: fans of diverse and political, own-voice contemporaries
Themes: contemporary, young adult, coming-of-age, diversity, protest,
Review: There are those rare and wonderful books that exist because they have something important to deliver. They provide a powerful social commentary. They define a community, a time or a place. And yet they refuse to be defined and are all encompassing. They transport a message. They, themselves, are transportive. This is one of those books.
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this powerful story details a life and an experience that many can identify as their own. As a white reader, this is so far removed from my own experiences and it unveiled something I had never been exposed to. Reading this was uncomfortable but necessary. Never before had my white privilege been so evident to me.
As a child, I was taught that if I was ever lost or in trouble, a police officer would help me. They would find my parents, escort me to where I needed to go and expel the ‘baddies’. The black protagonist of this story gets a very different talk. The police in her neighbourhood are to be feared, avoided and mistrusted. This theory is proven correct when the protagonist, Starr, sees her best friend murdered by a white police man due to his prejudice and preconceived notions of the individuals he was dealing with. His rash reactions were based solely on the colour of their skin.
This running social commentary on our contemporary times made for painful reading. Starr witnessed something that changed her life, but it also opened her eyes to the horrors of the world. Her choice was now to continue to be a witness or become an advocate for change.
This is the message that permeated the book. Prejudice is very real and very relevant. And are you, as a reader, going to do something about it?
This is as much a story about race as it is a story about identity. No matter the colour of your skin. How you identify yourself and the attributes that are associated with your personality is of your own choosing. This story teaches that you must not let someone else become the master of your individuality. Where you come from is a part of who you are. Who you are affiliated with is a part of who you are. But this does not define you. No one can define you. Your actions, your intentions, and your words are what defines you. You are who defines you.
— Dannii Elle (@danniiellereads) February 26, 2017