Book Review: The Hate U Give

Samantha Rosa, Staff Writer

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Angela Davis’s young adult debut, The Hate U Give, has garnered widespread attention for its portrayal of timely issues, and became an instant bestseller upon its recent publication. The Hate U Give, the title penned from a phrase by rapper Tupac Shakur, explores themes of racism and police brutality. When protagonist, Starr Carter, witnesses the shooting of her friend at the hands of a police officer, her life begins to unravel.


Starr is a black teen, torn between two conflicting worlds. While she lives in urban Garden Heights, she attends a suburban prep school. She has enough trouble balancing these two worlds as it is. One night, as she attends a party in Garden Heights, she watches as her unarmed friend is shot and killed by a cop. Starr is left to choose between using her voice, or remaining silent.


While the Black Lives Matter is never explicitly mentioned, it is alluded to throughout the novel. Davis confronts the searing effect of systemic racism and reveals, through examples of police brutality, why action has to be taken to ensure civil rights and equality. As Davis told a group of a student’s, “Writing is a form of activism.” Davis also does an effective job leveling the political with the personal. While Davis highlights problems in the law enforcement and justice system, she also incorporates the bond of family, friendships and relationships from a teenager’s perspective.


As racial tensions across the United States increase in intensity, this book is prevalent now more than ever. For readers young and old, this novel is a call to action alongside Starr: Speak up, fight back.
⅘ stars

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Book Review: The Hate U Give