This is a spoiler-free book review of the young adult novel, “The Hate U Give,” by Angie Thomas.
Does the “U” in the book title bother you? It bothered me at first, but allow me to explain. The title of the book is actually part of acronym made popular by Tupac in the nineties. Tupac, known for being equal parts rapper and advocate, had a tattoo of the words “THUG LIFE” famously emblazoned across his abs. However, he redefined its meaning as an acronym: “The hate u give little infants f***** everyone.” This is all covered in Thomas’ book by one of the main characters who explains that the hate racists give tiny, innocent humans just because of their skin makes life worse for everyone.
With that, the book takes shape.
This is a young adult novel that deals with the systematic and personal racism that affects all of us in the United States today. From police brutality, to gangs, to riots, to interracial families… this book does its best to cover a lot of the aspects of racism that many authors politely shy away from. Thomas deserves major kudos for delivering important messages about being a Black teen growing up in modern America, while keep the dialogue, fresh, funny, and life-like. The conversations in this book are laugh-out-loud funny at times, but heartbreakingly sinister at others. Thomas really masterfully navigates family life, friendships, and love in a way we have never seen in teen fiction before.
While this book is important, well-written, and touching, it is not perfect. There is too much time devoted to unimportant relationships, and some of the most pertinent topics (like the legal system), are left with few details. Regardless, readers cannot wait for the movie!
Have you read “The Hate U Give?” What did you think? Do you know any similar books?