The Hate You Give
Author, by Angie Thomas
by Mekayla Trout
In The Hate U Give, the protagonist, Starr, faces a series of heartbreaking challenges following the murder of her childhood friend Kahlil. Because Starr goes to a private school called Williamson, unlike most of the kids in her neighborhood, who go to the Garden Heights public school, she struggles with having censor herself around the different groups of people in her life. In the world of Williamson, Starr holds herself back, fearing casual racism from her peers. In the world of Garden Heights, Starr feels that she has to work harder to be accepted because she goes to a predominantly white school.
Starr’s “Williamson Self” is adamant about not falling into any “ghetto” stereotypes. She feels obligated to hold back any sass or attitude, even when a situation may call for it. Starr also tries to stay away from the “angry black girl” stereotype. At Williamson Starr is highly visible because of she is one of very few black kids at school. Starr feels that if she exposes her “Garden Heights Self” at Williamson people will stop seeing her in a positive light.
The ultimate issue Starr faces in terms of identity is that, depending on the situation, she feels either “too white” or “too black.” For the majority of the book Starr never feels a sense of belonging in either of her “selves.” The book is an exploration of how Starr must reconcile these two personas to speak out for her childhood friend after he is killed by a police officer.
This popular and timely book is well-written and thoughtful. It has recently been made into a motion picture, set to come out this month, but read this powerful novel, go ahead and fall in love with its beautifully drawn characters, even if you plan to see the movie.