October 2017

Angie Thomas - The Hate U Give

"When I was twelve, my parents had two talks with me. Once was usual birds and bees. The other talk was about what to do if a cop stopped me. I hope somebody had the talk with Khalil." The rules were simple: Keep your hands visible. Don't make any sudden moves. But Khalil didn't know. Pow! One. Khalil's body jerks. Blood splatters from his back. Pow! Two. Khalil gasps. Starr Carter's best friend gets shot by a police officer. He was unarmed. The next couple of days national media brings out national headlines: A police officer shot a potential drug dealer, a thug, a criminal.

16-year old Starr Carter is torn between two worlds: Garden Heights, her neighborhood full of crime and poverty on the one hand, the fancy suburban Williamson Prep School on the other hand. It's fascinating how Starr copes to live both ways. The fatal shooting of Khalil summons a wave of protest throughout the neighborhood. The investigation of Khalil's death turns out in being very careless. Everyone wants to know what really happened that night at the sight of Khalil's death. But only Starrr knows and she can't tell anyone - too risky. Angie Thomas doesn't leave this topic unheard. Her phenomenal debut, which has been #1 on the New York Times Young Adult bestseller list for over half a year, addresses the important issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart and honesty. "This book isn't anti-cop. It's anti-police brutality." Angie Thomas started writing a first short novel when she was in high school, after Oscar Grant got shot at Fruitvale Station, Oakland, California in 2008. Writing has since then been her way of protest. But she isn't a stubborn "angry black woman". She knows the complexity very well, as she experiences the struggle of many black people herself, coming from Jackson, Mississippi, USA.

The book is beautiful to read. It is very compelling and I could simply not stop reading it. I met Angie Thomas a while ago and have never been so fascinated. She is an incredibly smart, kind woman and success didn't turn her head. She still wears her 2Pac socks at readings, no matter whether critics like it or not. If you're looking for a book that combines seriousness, honesty and a very realistic view on society you should definitely get this book. It is funny, heat-warming and not restraining. A must-have ranking in the Top 3 of my all-time favorite books and definitley my Book of the Month!

 

 

Yannick Bigalke, Year 12