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Genre: Young Adult Contemporary, OWN Voices
Publisher: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

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If I had to choose one word to describe The Hate U Give, it would be POWERFUL. In capital letters. The Hate U Give is POWERFUL in the way that it is unapologetic, inspiring, and emotional. 

There has never been a more relevant and important novel than this one and what makes it truly amazing is its genre, Young Adult. Children are the future and that has never been more true and important than it is now. With the state of the world as it is now with the very real possibility of regression rather than progression, The Hate U Give is in the unique position of bringing light to a dark time. 

Angie Thomas’ voice is real and raw throughout the entire novel. She’s unapologetic in the way the real world is reflected accurately in her fictionalized one and inspiring in the way she brings hope in an otherwise dismal reality. These qualities easily transfer to the characters she’s created as well. Starr is human and that’s the best way to describe her. For every strength she possesses, a flaw is equally represented. Her ideals don’t always hold up in reality, so she’s faced with identity crisis after identity crisis. The Starr at home and the Starr at her mostly white private school are two different people. Coupled with the direct metaphor to The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air make her a multifaceted character that’s easy to understand, especially if you’re a fan of Fresh Prince. 

If you’re going to read only one book this year, make sure it’s The Hate U Give. Echoes of real life events and moments are threaded throughout seamlessly creating a POWERFUL novel that will forever change the way you see and interact with the world around you. 

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