Every now and again, a book comes along that you want to stand on rooftops to shout about. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is one of these books. It is an important book, a vital book, a book that would help society along the evolutionary path, if only everyone would read it.
The main character is Starr who leads two different lives – on an estate where drug dealing and related crimes are part of every day life and in her majority white private school. Having witnessed her unarmed friend Khalil killed by the police officer Starr has to cope with pressures of the investigation as well as the multiple challenges that her family face from the local community.
This is a story about racism in 21st century America, throughout all the layers of society, whether it is institutionalised or more local and reinforced by the media. This is also a young woman's search for her own identity and voice whilst dealing with trauma.
But it is not just in the themes and subject matter that The Hate U Give makes its mark, it is also in the delivery. The first-person narrative is unfailingly believable; the writing is powerful, evoking characters and relationships that are familiar and relatable, celebrating the strength each of us have as individuals and as part of our communities. This story will stay with you long after you have read it.