• Noha Badawi

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

A while even since before that book came out, all I could hear about is how inspiring it is. How ground-breaking the story can be and how truthful. Social-media was taken by a storm of appreciation for The Hate You Give ; and let me tell you that it’s well deserved.

“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” 

I finished reading this book 3 months ago – it took me three whole months to get it together and finally sit down to write a proper review that would do this masterpiece justice. Winner of endless number of awards, highly praised and #1 on the New York Times bestsellers’ List for more than 75 weeks. *mind-blowing-that-what-that-is*

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.

The Hate You Give, Angie Thomas, Balzer + Bray, February 28th 2017, Hardcover, ISBN: 9780062498533, Rating: ★★★★★, 444 pages.

This book opened my eyes like none other before it; it makes me beyond happy that it’s verypopular, loved and hyped. It should be that hyped, it should be more loved, spread and it should be taught in schools to young kids and teenagers.

“That’s the problem. We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” 

Reading the story of Starr overwhelmed and I found myself crying already by page 24. You know when you’re suddenly shocked to a point that you explode in tears at the unfairness, cruelty and injustice of what you’re witnessing. That was that.

What I think is that you need to open this book and simply read it. Read it without second thoughts, without a pre-made judgement or an already formed opinion. Read it,  not because everybody is giving it a five stars rate, but because you owe yourself the experience and the eye-opening story. You owe to yourself as a living member of this planet.

“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.” 

Angie Thomas shook-up the world with how truthful she wrote it to be – it’s so realistic to a point that this book can be a biographie. She put all her heart into those words, her rage, anger and feeling of unfairness into a powerful story and you could see how real it all is.

Our main character, Starr portrays every teenage girl in high school. She’s an example for the girl who struggles in accepting where she comes from, her family, her status in society; a teenage girl who struggles to find her voice amidst the pre-classification she was born into; unfair rules and boundaries set by a society she found herself born and raised in.

Starr‘s journey to find her true, loud voice is touching, inspiring and very relatable. It’s not easy for teenagers to speak-up; they’re always swamped by doubt, fear and anxiety and people around them should understand and support that. I loved how Angie wrote the neighborhood, its ways, traditions, families, cultures and life.

“I can’t change where I come from or what I’ve been through, so why should I be ashamed of what makes me, me?” 

Starr‘s parents were absolutely my favorites; I loved how headstrong her father was and how resilient her mother was. I loved how passionate they were in loving their kids and wanting what’s best for them. I loved how breakable they came out to be sometimes; kids need to know that their parents are not made of steel, kids need to support their parents like their parents do for them.

The book was very well written, in a very well paced sequence; the flow of events was easy to follow and fall in sync with. I loved how she made the dialogues a bit sarcastic at times – even funny at others – it toned down the dramatic sense and made it feel all natural and real.

“To every kid in Georgetown and in all “the Gardens” of the world: your voices matter, your dreams matter, your lives matter. Be roses that grow in the concrete.” 

I won’t talk about the Khalil scene because it broke me into a million pieces and all the true-stories and names Angie put in the end of the book completed the cycle of me looking at the world we live in differently.

The world desperately needs a story like this, young ones need a story like this, they need to know that we’re all equal, they need to know that nobody get a say on how they’re born, where they’re born, what color their skin is, what religion they choose to follow what shape their body is, what form their hair is; society needs a story like this to believe in how powerful the world could be, how human it should be and how much more strength we could all have if we accept each other, support one another and lift each other towards better days.

“Daddy once told me there’s a rage passed down to every black man from his ancestors, born the moment they couldn’t stop the slave masters from hurting their families. Daddy also said there’s nothing more dangerous than when that rage is activated.” 

This story is real, honest and it will be like a slap in the face for many. It will make a lot of people a bit uncomfortable because it will make them think; that would be the first steps towards a change – towards a better future. A future where race, color, religion, gender, sexual-orientation, origin … doesn’t matter. A future where we’re all equally human. Angie Thomas took the first steps towards that future by bringing this story to life; read it and take the next steps yourself.

“People like us in situations like this become hashtags, but they rarely get justice. I think we all wait for that one time though, that one time when it ends right.”

How was The Hate You Give inspired? Well, the rapper Tupac Shakur once broke down the acronym for his mantra “T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E.”: “The hate you gave little infants fucks everybody,” – it means what society gives us as youth, it bites them in the ass when we wild out. “What you feed us as seeds, grows and blows up in your face.

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