In the author's note to her debut smash hit and former read of the fortnight Children Of BloodAnd Bone, Tomi Adeyemi talks about the '˜pain, fear, sorrow and loss' that provided theimpetus for the book: the brutality of unarmed black men, women and children being shot by the police.
The Hate U Give, suitable from around age 11 but a book that adults will love too, could
almost be a companion piece to Adeyemi’s fantasy epic.
This is a story that vividly brings to life a reality where people who have done nothing wrong are killed because of prejudice.
Angie Thomas is a master at inhabiting the mind of a teenager. Our narrator is Starr Carter,
a sixteen-year-old girl caught between two worlds and struggling to find her own voice.
When Starr bumps into one of her oldest friends, Khalil, at a party, one minute they are
comparing notes on the best way to clean their trainers and the next Khalil is shot dead by a
police officer and Starr is the only witness.
It sounds like a harrowing read, and it some ways it is.
Thomas is writing about things that really happen to real people, and it is heartbreaking.
The Hate U Give does not sugarcoat anything, but what struck me the most about this book was how much hope it contains.
Sometimes the hardest reviews to write are about the best books, because they end up
sounding like hyperbole.
This one is difficult because The Hate U Give blew me away.
This is a story that gets under your skin.
And on top of everything else she has achieved with this book, Thomas has written a manual on parenting through trauma. Starr’s mum Lisa has joined the hallowed ranks of Danny The Champion Of The World‘s dad as a literary parent I aspire to be like.
At its heart this is a book about family.
Messy, unconventional and difficult families, not always blood relatives, that are full of conflict, but also vast quantities of love.
The focus is not on the injustice itself, but rather the way people can rise to the challenge of tackling it, and pull together when they need to. It is a stunning achievement.
So, I’m sorry if this review seems full of hyperbole. But honestly, just read the thing and you’ll see why.