Starr Carter lives a double life. On one hand, she attends the prestigious Williamson school and is one of only a handful of black students at the almost exclusively white school. She is on the basketball team and – secretly – has a white boyfriend. On the other hand, Starr was born, raised, and still lives in Garden Heights, a mostly black neighborhood that has to deal with gangs and their violence. She tries to keep her lives as separate as possible.
At a party during spring break, Starr is reunited with Khalil, a childhood friend and old crush. They get to talking but when gunshots break out at the party, they leave with haste. On the way home, their car is stopped by a police officer. Starr urges Khalil to cooperate, which he does grudgingly but events unfold quickly and soon Khalil is shot dead by the cop – and his gun is quickly turned to Starr.
As the sole witness to the events of Khalil’s shooting, Starr has to deal with some PTSD along with the emerging misconceptions and stereotypes her peers at Williamson respond to the shooting with. She will soon learn who her friends really are as she confronts issues she initially brushed aside.
The Hate U Give has been one of those books that everyone has talked about from day one. Some might think it to be overhyped, but the thing about THUG is it is REAL. The way Angie Thomas writes the story makes the reader realize that it can happen anywhere to anyone; it has happened and it can continue to happen. THUG is not just a story, it is real life and you feel that as you read.
No matter who you are, you empathize with Starr. I acknowledge that I grew up somewhat privileged, but I am not black (I am a person of color, however). I also have had to confront stereotypes and misconceptions, but I know it has never been as bad off as others. Even so, I felt for Starr; I cried with her, smiled with her, raged with her. This book gave me insight into a world I did not know, admittedly did not understand, and now I’ve come away a better person.
Angie Thomas did an amazing job in her debut novel. I’m not a huge fan of contemporary novels but I absolutely loved THUG and I cannot wait to read what she’s writing up next.
My rating: 5/5