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.
Buy it – Amazon
I’m not editing this because I just moved and my wifi is trash.
Since there are thousands of reviews of THUG circulating around the internet, this will not be a review, it will be .. thoughts…
Despite the glowing reviews, this book took me a long time to read. The first chapter of THUG was really triggering tbqh, and felt very real. And I couldn’t seem to get through it! When I began it a week ago, I skipped the first two chapters. Many of the white book vloggers I follow, read and loved this book. And called it a book that taught them so much about social activism, and changed who they were as people. A few black people said they related to the idea of Starr going to an all-white school and being an outsider. I actually haven’t read a lot of reviews of people who live in areas on the other side of Starr’s life.
Every time I opened this book to read it, someone was murdered in real life. The last notable attempt was during spring break 2018, and Stephen Clark was killed. That murder affected me a lot, as Stephen was 22 with two kids and I have a cousin who is a black man and also 22 with two kids.
One thing I’ve noticed, is that from the glowing reviews of white reviewers, at times it kinda seemed like poverty porn. I was constantly asking myself…why do I want to read a book about a kid being killed by the police? This happens in real life, why would I want to read about it as a form of escapism? It’s one thing to close a book and realize that an outcome could never happen to you. But police brutality is like…a daily occurrence for black people lmao.
But I REALLY like this.
From reviews I read, I thought this book would be preachy and super heavy. But it wasn’t. I loved this book so much, and it was so inspiring to me in many ways.
1) It’s the blackest and most relatable YA book I’ve ever read. PERIOD.
From Starr’s parents pushing the kids into the living room when they cough.
To Starr having a brother by another mother.
Omg there is a seen where Starr is like “Everyone knew khalil’s mama was a crackhead. I?”
And the way drug abuse/crack is treated in the story? Omg. The scene where Starr’s mother comforts Khalil’s mother, and doesn’t judge her?
And the struggle Starr’s dad has with leaving the community he grew up in? I feel the same way. I don’t live in certain areas anymore, but I definitely feel a strong urge to give back, and help communities grow. It’s one of the reasons I want to become a teacher.
There are completely basic scenes in this book that I have never read in YA and that is so sad. Like it’s 2018. Reading this made me hope that when I finish/publish my own books, I’m not forced to change and adapt my words.
2) This summer I worked at this summer camp, and there was SO MUCH racial tension. So many of the campers didn’t know how to navigate around black/brown people. It was very odd to me, because while I wasn’t perfect, my understanding of other cultures in high school was pretty strong. My school upbringing was super diverse, and I was virtually not surrounded by white people until University. I say all this because, at this summer camp the racism (omg) was so strong, that curriculum surrounding micro/macro aggression and privilege were thrown in last minute. While these lessons were beneficial for the white students in the camp, the few black girls who were enrolled, were bored and irritated.
Why should they have to sit and learn about racism, for the benefit of their white counterparts?
In The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas does a great job of balancing both of those worlds. At the private school where Starr struggles addressing the microagressions and general misunderstanding she experiences on a daily basis. And at home, when Starr discusses aspects of the civil rights/freedom movement that many black teens may not be aware of (black panthers/Malcolm X, etc. I would have loved there to be mention of Tupac’s connection to the Black Panther and Assata. Especially since Starr is a black woman and Assata is…Assata…).
3) From reviewers, again, I thought this book would be PREACHY. It wasn’t…at all. Like… At all. Yes this book is about the Black Lives Matter Movement. But honestly, imo, I cared more reading about Starr’s community. Which is probably what Angie Thomas wanted to do. Hmm
This was kind of a review, which was not what I wanted to do. But I had a lot to say about this book.