Four Reasons Why You Should Read The Hate U Give

I'm not a YA reader, but when I learned what The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was about and saw the incredible buzz it was getting, I gave in. I read the book in an entire weekend, sincerely concerned for the main character, Starr, and how she was coping with being the only witness to her childhood friend's shooting by a police officer. There were some definite "YA-y" elements that I am not a fan of (a few instances of dialogue, a few cheesy teenage moments, etc...), but Thomas and Starr were easy to forgive and I am so happy I read it. Here's why you should to (that is if you haven't, since everyone else has):

1. No matter where your political and social opinions lie you need to read this book for a really important perspective on race, police brutality, poverty, the BLM, and gang dynamics. I try to be informed about all of these things and consider myself pretty liberal, but seeing it out of the eyes, albeit fictional, of this character made me feel in a way I haven't necessarily before. 

2. Despite some very real, tragic, heartbreaking moments, there is still hope and optimism for African Americans, race relations, those in poverty, and our society as a whole in this book. If people are willing to work and talk, we can move towards some sort of okay (or better).

3. I absolutely loved Starr's family- her nurse mother, her ex-con turned small-business owner father, her siblings, and even her conflicted police officer uncle. The characters possessed depth, humanity, and were just extremely lovable and real. Actually, all the characters represented important archetypes, which is important because this means pretty much anyone who reads this book can find themselves in it and see how their role might impact others and society as a whole. 

4. Read it so that you can recommend it to people and buy it for them to Christmas. People who are liberal and conservative, who are white or people of color. Everyone needs to read this. I plan to let my students have the option to read it next semester for their outside reading, since their genre requirement is one that deals with a social issue they're concerned about (YA is usually off the table, but again, this book is worthy of an exception). 


  1. I completely agree! I also read it in a weekend and found it extremely thought-provoking about a very important topic. I think it personalizes some of the issues we see in the news by letting us get to know one individual person and her family -- even though they are fictional -- and following the struggles, dilemmas, and unfairness Starr and her community face.

    P.S. This was a September pick for a new online Diverse Books Club if anyone wants to join and check out the discussion forums on Goodreads.

    1. Oh and this is off-topic, but speaking of YA books for people who do not typically read or like YA, I highly recommend A Northern Light, by Jennifer Donnelly. It was a Printz Honor and as soon as I finished it, I immediately thought, I need more YA like THAT in my reading life.

  2. I agree - this is an awesome book. "All American Boys" by Jason Reynolds and Brandon Kiely is another great book in this same genre.