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The Hate U Give
     

The Hate U Give

by Angie Thomas
 

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Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty. Soon to be a major motion picture from Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions.

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds:

Overview

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty. Soon to be a major motion picture from Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions.

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.

A Note from the Author:

The story behind The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I remember the first time I saw Emmett Louis Till.
I couldn’t have been more than eight years old. I came across his photo in a Jet magazine that marked the anniversary of his death. At the time, I was convinced he wasn’t real, or at least that he wasn’t a person. What was supposed to be a face was mutilated beyond recognition. He looked more like a prop from a movie to me; a monster from some over-the-top horror flick.
But he was a person, a boy, and his story was a cautionary tale, even for a black girl in Mississippi who was born more than three decades after he died. “Know your worth,” my mom would say, “but also know that not everyone values you as much as I do.”
Still, Emmett wasn’t real to me. There was no way I’d ever have to worry about anything like that happening to me or to someone I knew. Things had changed, even in Mississippi. That was history. The present had its own problems
I grew up in a neighborhood that’s notorious for all the wrong reasons. Drug dealers, shootings, crime, insert other “ghetto” stereotypes here. While everything they showed on the news was true, there was so much more that you wouldn’t see unless you lived there. It was my home. My neighbors were family. The neighborhood drug dealer was a superhero who gave kids money for snacks and beat up pedophiles who tried to snatch little girls off the street. The cops could be superheroes too, but I was taught at a young age to be “mindful” around them. So had my friends. We’d all heard stories, and though they didn’t come with mutilated photos, they were realer than Emmett.

I remember the first time I saw the video of Oscar Grant.
I was a transfer student in my first year at the college I’d later graduate from. It was in a nicer part of town than where I lived, but only ten minutes away from it, and it was very, very white. A majority of the time, I was the only black student in my creative writing classes. I did everything I could so no one would label me as the “black girl from the hood.” I would leave home, blasting Tupac, but by the time I arrived to pick up a friend, I was listening to the Jonas Brothers. I kept quiet whenever race came up in discussions, despite the glances I’d get because as the “token black girl,” I was expected to speak.
But Oscar did something to me. Suddenly, Emmett wasn’t history. Emmett was still reality.
The video was shocking for multiple reasons, one being that someone actually caught it on tape. This was undeniable evidence that had never been provided for the stories I’d heard. Yet my classmates, who had never heard such tales, had their own opinions about it.
“He should’ve just done what they said.”
“He was resisting.”
“I heard he was an ex-con and a drug dealer.”
“He had it coming. Why are people so mad?”
“They were just doing their job.”
And I hate to admit it, but I still remained silent.
I was hurt, no doubt. And angry. Frustrated. Straight-up pissed. I knew plenty of Oscars. I grew up with them and I was friends with them. This was like being told that they deserved to die.
As the unrest took place in Oakland, I wondered how my community would react if that happened to one of our Oscars. I also wondered if my classmates would make the same comments if I became an Oscar. I wasn’t an ex-con or a drug dealer, but I was from a neighborhood they were afraid to visit, the same neighborhood they once jokingly said was full of criminals, not knowing that’s where I lived until months later.
From all of those questions and emotions, The Hate U Give was born.
I’ve always told stories. When I can’t find a way to say the words out loud, I create characters who do it for me. The Hate U Give started as a short story my senior year. It was cathartic at the time, and I thought I was done telling Starr and Khalil’s story because I foolishly hoped Oscar wouldn’t happen again.
But then there was Trayvon. Michael. Eric. Tamir.
And there was more anger, frustration, and hurt for me, my peers, and the kids in my neighborhood who saw themselves in those gentlemen. So I expressed those feelings the best way I knew how, through story, in hopes that I would give a voice to every kid who feels the same way I do and is not sure how to express it.
But my ultimate hope is that everyone who reads this book, no matter their experiences, walks away from it understanding those feelings and sharing them in some way.
And maybe then, Emmett Louis Till can truly become history.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 11/28/2016
At home in a neighborhood riven with gang strife, Starr Carter, 16, is both the grocer’s daughter and an outsider, because she attends private school many miles away. But at Williamson Prep, where she’s among a handful of black students, she can’t be herself either: no slang, no anger, no attitude. That version of herself—“Williamson Starr”—“doesn’t give anyone a reason to call her ghetto.” She’s already wrestling with what Du Bois called “double consciousness” when she accepts a ride home from Khalil, a childhood friend, who is then pulled over and shot dead by a white cop. Starr’s voice commands attention from page one, a conflicted but clear-eyed lens through which debut author Thomas examines Khalil’s killing, casual racism at Williamson, and Starr’s strained relationship with her white boyfriend. Though Thomas’s story is heartbreakingly topical, its greatest strength is in its authentic depiction of a teenage girl, her loving family, and her attempts to reconcile what she knows to be true about their lives with the way those lives are depicted—and completely undervalued—by society at large. Ages 14–up. Agent: Brooks Sherman, Bent Agency. (Feb.)
Booklist (starred review)
“Beautifully written in Starr’s authentic first-person voice, this is a marvel of verisimilitude as it insightfully examines two worlds in collision. An inarguably important book that demands the widest possible readership.”
Jason Reynolds
“As we continue to fight the battle against police brutality and systemic racism in America, THE HATE U GIVE serves as a much needed literary ramrod. Absolutely riveting!”
Becky Albertalli
“Fearlessly honest and heartbreakingly human. Everyone should read this book.”
Adam Silvera
“This is tragically timely, hard-hitting, and an ultimate prayer for change. Don’t look away from this searing battle for justice. Rally with Starr.”
John Green
“Angie Thomas has written a stunning, brilliant, gut-wrenching novel that will be remembered as a classic of our time.”
Brightly.com
“The story of Starr Carter, a 16-year-old who sees her childhood best friend fatally shot by a police officer, is compelling, thought-provoking, and conversation-enabling. One readers are sure to be talking about for a long time.”
Horn Book (starred review)
“Thomas has penned a powerful, in-your-face novel that will similarly galvanize fans of Kekla Magoon’s How It Went Down and Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely’s All American Boys.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
“Ultimately the book emphasizes the need to speak up about injustice. That’s a message that will resonate with all young people concerned with fairness, and Starr’s experience will speak to readers who know Starr’s life like their own and provide perspective for others.”
School Library Journal
★ 01/01/2017
Gr 8 Up—After Starr and her childhood friend Khalil, both black, leave a party together, they are pulled over by a white police officer, who kills Khalil. The sole witness to the homicide, Starr must testify before a grand jury that will decide whether to indict the cop, and she's terrified, especially as emotions run high. By turns frightened, discouraged, enraged, and impassioned, Starr is authentically adolescent in her reactions. Inhabiting two vastly different spheres—her poor, predominantly black neighborhood, Garden Heights, where gangs are a fact of life, and her rich, mostly white private school—causes strain, and Thomas perceptively illustrates how the personal is political: Starr is disturbed by the racism of her white friend Hailey, who writes Khalil off as a drug dealer, and Starr's father is torn between his desire to support Garden Heights and his need to move his family to a safer environment. The first-person, present-tense narrative is immediate and intense, and the pacing is strong, with Thomas balancing dramatic scenes of violence and protest with moments of reflection. The characterization is slightly uneven; at times, Starr's friends at school feel thinly fleshed out. However, Starr, her family, and the individuals in their neighborhood are achingly real and lovingly crafted. VERDICT Pair this powerful debut with Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely's All American Boys to start a conversation on racism, police brutality, and the Black Lives Matter movement.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2016-12-06
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter is a black girl and an expert at navigating the two worlds she exists in: one at Garden Heights, her black neighborhood, and the other at Williamson Prep, her suburban, mostly white high school. Walking the line between the two becomes immensely harder when Starr is present at the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, by a white police officer. Khalil was unarmed. Khalil's death becomes national news, where he's called a thug and possible drug dealer and gangbanger. His death becomes justified in the eyes of many, including one of Starr's best friends at school. The police's lackadaisical attitude sparks anger and then protests in the community, turning it into a war zone. Questions remain about what happened in the moments leading to Khalil's death, and the only witness is Starr, who must now decide what to say or do, if anything. Thomas cuts to the heart of the matter for Starr and for so many like her, laying bare the systemic racism that undergirds her world, and she does so honestly and inescapably, balancing heartbreak and humor. With smooth but powerful prose delivered in Starr's natural, emphatic voice, finely nuanced characters, and intricate and realistic relationship dynamics, this novel will have readers rooting for Starr and opening their hearts to her friends and family. This story is necessary. This story is important. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062498533
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/28/2017
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
190
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.90(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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Meet the Author

Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was having an article about her in Right On! magazine. She holds a BFA in creative writing. The Hate U Give is her first novel. You can find her online at www.angiethomas.com.