The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is one of our school’s considerations for the grade nine de-streamed classroom. These are my thoughts on whether or not we should include this book in our book club selection. To learn more about our Inclusive Classroom Library Project, please click here.
A Brief Plot Outline
Starr Carter is a 16-year-old black girl living in a poor black neighborhood called Garden Heights, but she attends a white private school, Williamson Prep.
After a party, Starr gets a ride home from a childhood friend, Khalil. They are stopped by a white police officer who instructs Khalil to exit the car. Khalil leans over to see if Starr is okay, at which time the officer shoots and kills Khalil.
Starr agrees to an interview with the police but soon finds out they are not seeking the truth. The court case and investigation that follows make life difficult for Starr. She attempts to hide her feelings, and her friends at the private school don’t understand what Starr is going through.
Back in her old neighborhood, tensions run high between her father, a former gang member, and other gangs in the area. These tensions are tied to Khalil’s shooting. The story ends with a riot in Garden Heights. The event inspires Starr to keep Khalil’s memory alive and advocate against injustice.
The Hate U Give is a fantastic novel. We see Starr’s struggles with discrimination in so many contexts. Because she attends a prep school outside of the neighborhood, she is an outsider within her community. In the school, she is one of only a few black students. She must deal with Khalil’s unjust death. And more!
Thomas’ novel shows us many underlying race issues that still exist today. It was a real eye-opener for me, and I think it will be the same for many of our students.
Who Will Like This?
The book is easy and enjoyable to read. Even though it is a lengthy novel, struggling students will likely rise to the challenge of reading it. The gripping plot, strong character development, and incredible writing assure that many readers will enjoy the novel.
Race issues may be a trigger for some students. However, there isn’t anything terribly graphic.
I believe that his book should be included in our reading selections. It deals with race issues in such a heartfelt, meaningful way that it belongs in every classroom.