For every book we read during the book club, we’ll write a review so that anyone who couldn’t be there can still join in on the fun! Saskia den Ouden is our YA book club reviewer, judging all the books we read.

Police brutality and systemic racism have always been a part of life for black Americans, but it has become more obvious with the help of social media and groups like the Black Lives Matter movement. The Hate U Give was written by Angie Thomas, because of this particular movement and it’s great that she did.

Starr Carter is a teenager that moves between to spheres; the poor neighborhood she grew up in and the private school she attends. The contrast becomes a lot starker when she’s in a car with her childhood friend Khalil, who gets shot by a police officer. Of course, the story gets twisted and the only one who can rectify it is Starr.

I have to preface this by saying, I don’t know what it’s like to be discriminated against to such a degree. I am a white woman living in a predominantly white country, so take what I say with a grain of salt.
I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was very realistic and it gave me a good view into the life of someone who lives in a country with such tense racial relationships. Starr for all intents and purposes is a character who I can relate to. She’s a teenager with a social consciousness, but also a healthy amount of teen density because she still has a lot to learn. I was like that at her age too. That really helps to bond to the character and really see the world through her eyes. We’re not so different, despite the fact that certain key characteristics are profoundly dissimilar.

A while back John Green was talking about this book, calling it extremely important. I don’t think he’s wrong. This book can create understanding about other people, that we can’t come to on our own.

Aside from the major themes, the book is also well written, funny and heart-warming at times and although the situations Starr faces are pretty bleak, it never feels like you’re about to fall in a deep pit of depression.

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I like to complain about dumb teenagers, but I eat up their literature like it’s going out of style. In my free time I rage against various systems and drink too much coffee (the two may possibly be related).

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