Hello book lovers! Long time no see! I took quite a long break from here due to being in the (very) long process of moving AND having a two-week internship at Hachette in London (which I will write a post about in the near future) so taking photos, notes, and finding the time to write while juggling all of the craziness and my current reading kick clearly did not work out. However, seeing as I have been reading like crazy, I have so many book reviews to catch up on for you guys and I am so excited – I have had some really good luck with my book choices this summer which means positive content and an encouraged reader (who may or may not be about to fall into a reading slump due to running low on good books but fingers crossed this does not happen as reading is currently my sanity).
So for the first book to start us off – THE HATE U GIVE! I have had this one of my shelf for over a year now (shame on me) but I decided to finally read it before the movie because I AM READY TO SOB IN A THEATRE AGAIN *I’m looking at you, “Love,Simon”* (though I have to admit that I didn’t shed one tear while reading this… yes that does make me feel a bit heartless but at least I still felt moved and emotional over it!).
“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.” Goodreads
▹▹ The power within this book was heart wrenching and inspirational. With each chapter you can see that Angie Thomas wrote with a raw heart and determination to show people the side that doesn’t get covered by the news when a black person is shot by a white cop and it shows the scar that such an event leaves on not only those who were there, those who knew the person, but also the town and the way that everyone’s lives will forever be changed.
▹▹ The characters are so perfectly, fully developed that you believe that they are real and at times you feel as if you truly seeing these people’s interviews on the news with their pained faces not only coming to life on the pages but also in your mind and your heart. I like to think that if someone read this book who always finds a way to “justify” a shooting like such, they would have a change of heart by the power of literature. I know that’s not realistic with the current state of politics, as can often be seen through family discussions and social media conversations, but a girl can hope.
▹▹ The language and tone of this book is consistent throughout. Star is constantly dealing with the battle of balancing her at-home personality with her white-private-school personality which finds its challenges throughout the plot in a realistic form and one that is eye opening for those not in such a living situation. Each member within the family, along with her friends and boyfriend, have their own voice and set vocabulary which allows each character be standalone whilst adding to the whole.
▹▹ The pace of this book was perfect for adding the impact with there being time dividers from when the shooting first took place to what happens after the decision of the jury. Thomas’ choice of this usage created rhythm and fluidity for the reader’s experience to take in each step of not only the emotions and experiences of the main characters but also a realistic look on how such a case is dealt with in court.
▹▹ Through all of it, my favourite part has to be the fact that as impactful and eye opening as it is, it is not flooding with emotions. Yes you continually feel your heart break for the characters and all of the events that take place, but you don’t feel like you are constantly going to cry and therefore can’t take in the power of the pages. You feel what she wants you to feel and leaves you with thoughts that are eyeopening and can change your outlook on life and politics which is such a rare and powerful influence from a young adult book.
Overall, this was such a special read and I am actually glad that I waited so that I could find the perfect time to take it all in and give it the love that it deserves. If I didn’t know that Angie Thomas was a debut author, I wouldn’t believe it if someone told me after reading this. Her writing is lovely and quite above the stereotypes of young adult authors which leads me to saying, I challenge those who underestimate the quality and power of young adult fiction to read this book AND I challenge those who somehow justify such shootings to read this. If you aren’t a fan of reading, please at least watch the movie when it is released because when Angie Thomas watched the premiere, she bawled her eyes out and if that doesn’t give me hope for an amazing book to movie adaptation, I don’t know what does.