The Hate U Give
New York, N: Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers,2017
AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, Mississippi Today
The Hate U Give is Angie Thomas’ 2017 debut novel. Thomas expanded her college senior short story project in Belhaven University’s creative writing program into a novel in reaction to the police shooting of 22-year-old African American, Oscar Grant on New Year’s day in 2009 in California.
The story is presented by a 16-year-old African American girl from a marginalized neighborhood, Starr Carter, who attends an elite private school in an affluent part of the city. Carter becomes thrown into a national news sector after witnessing her childhood friend’s death at the hands of a police officer. She begins to speak up publicly about the shooting. Khalil’s death becomes a national news story, and the media portrays him as a gang banger and drug dealer while portraying the police officer who killed him favorably. Social tensions escalate, culminating in a riot after a grand jury decides not to indict the police officer for shot and killing Khalil. Carter’s identity as the witness to Khalil’s shooting was initially kept secret from everyone outside her family, including her younger brother. After being encouraged by her uncle who is a detective in the police department, she agrees to be interviewed by the police about the shooting. Following the indictment of the police officer who killed Khalil, and failure of the criminal justice system to hold the officer accountable for his deadly action, Carter is pushed to start speaking up publicly about the shooting. She gives television interviews and speaks at the protests demanding justice for Khalil. Carter’s life becomes complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her to learn what happened the night her friend died. Carter promises to keep her friend, Khalil’s memory alive and to continue her advocacy against racism, community policing and police brutality and injustice.
The Hate U Give is Angie Thomas’s first novel about a teenage girl who grapples with racism, police brutality, and activism after witnessing her Black friend murdered by the police. The book became an immediate young adult bestseller and was adapted into a movie shortly after its release.