The best book recommendations come from those close to you. My oldest daughter, studying to be a high school English teacher, told me this book was a must. Bahni Turpin’s narration added a further rich layer to my experience of Thomas’ story.
Starr watched her best friend die on the sidewalk when she was ten. At sixteen she holds her friend, Khalil, as he dies from multiple gunshot wounds at the hands of a police officer making a routine traffic stop. Starr moves between the world of the neighborhood, Garden Heights, and the suburbs where she attends school and where her uncle, a detective, and her aunt, a surgeon, live in a gated community. Starr’s mother works at a clinic in the neighborhood. Her father, a former member of the Kings, for whom he did time, owns a neighborhood grocery store. They are committed to Garden Heights, despite the tragedies their daughter has endured. Starr becomes the star witness testifying in front of a grand jury deciding whether the officer who killed Khalil would be charged. As she processes her feelings about the murder, she is awakened as an activist and is forced to bring her two worlds, the neighborhood and the surburb, together.
The Hate U Give is powerful. Starr’s story boldly tackles issues that have become taboo in too many circles. Thomas’ characters are not political cartoons. They are as complex and frustrating and sympathetic and unforgettable. My daughter was right. This one is a must.