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Inspired by Black Lives Matter, this emotional and powerful debut by Angie Thomas is a must-read.

The Hate U Give is a book that everyone should read. Not only does it delve into the deep murky waters of many heavy topics—racism, white privilege, racial stereotyping, and police violence to name a few, but  it also gives the world a glimpse into black culture and showcases what black people go through in America.

Eight hours. It took me eight hours to finish this book, and every minute was amazing. It touched me in so many ways. So many different emotions swept through me—anger, sadness, rage, nostalgia and so many more. So many times I cried. I laughed. I screamed. I hurt. I smiled. I cursed. I laughed again, and sometimes sobbed. It’s been years since a book has ever made me feel so much. Like seriously—WOW.

Starr, the main character, is one of my favorite heroines of all-time. The main reason for that was that I saw myself in her, and I related to her so much—too much. We had so many similarities that it was scary. We grew up in the same type of neighborhood—we had similar upbringings. Similar parents, friends, and relationships. Similar feelings and outlooks on life. And that’s just saying a few. I had constant déjà vu, while reading and I loved it, but it also made me cry because while growing up, there wasn’t tons of books around where I got to see or relate to characters that looked and sounded like me or that resembled my family and culture. So, when I read books like this, it makes me extremely happy and gives me hope that more diverse books like this can/will get published.

Bottom line: I loved Starr. She’s courageous even when she’s afraid and strong even when she feels weak. Her voice was captivating, authentic and encouraging. And with all that, she still had insecurities and weaknesses that made her a unique, flawed character, yet she never let that hold her back. She’s a great role model, and a superb heroine that will forever be in my heart and a part of me.

One of my favorite things about this book though was the family dynamic. Yes, Starr’s family had their messy drama and arguments, but you’ll regret the day when you mess with any of them because the others will descend on you like rabid beasts haha just kidding, but they all were very close and loved each other fiercely. Yeah, they fought and teased each other, but if one of them needed anything—the others were right there to help. It was truly beautiful and heartwarming.

The best part of the book for me was the messages/lessons that Starr learned throughout her journey. One lesson she learned was how important it is to use your words, and that your voice is powerful. Like one of my favorite passages from the book is this:

This is bigger than me and Khalil though. This is about Us, with a capital U; everybody who looks like us, feels like us, and is experiencing this pain with us despite not knowing me or Khalil. My silence isn’t helping Us.

These words are so powerful and so true, and there are so many other strong passages throughout this book that just really empower you and teach you how to do better. Other powerful messages I picked up while reading were that people will try to keep you down—hurt you—scare you—silence you, but you can overcome. Our voices are important and they can and will be heard as long we never give up or give in and keep fighting for what we believe in. Change will come, but we need to be brave when we’re afraid, and keep fighting and believing in ourselves when the world or society doesn’t.

The Hate U Give is a must-read. I lost count of how many times I laughed and cried—sometimes I did both at the same time. It was truly amazing, and I’m not surprised that it’s still #1 on the NYT Bestseller List. It deserves to be. It will seriously change your life and challenge you. It’s powerful, educational and emotional. It’s extremely well-written, and all the characters felt like family—I bonded with them so quickly and so deeply. They felt so real. It was truly bittersweet when I turned that last page.

I highly recommend this to everyone. Everyone can learn something from this book.

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Anisaa

Anisaa Book Reviewer

“A shelf without books is a lonely soul.” I’m a twenty-something writer and book nerd who enjoys entertaining and being entertained by words.