Story Wonders: Review of The Hate U Give

Topics: Book review
The Hate U Give

Angie Thomas told the story my students tried to tell me for many years.

In the early 2000s, I frequently read essays my teenaged students wrote about Tupac Shakir. I didn’t know about the artist or his story and learned few details from my students’ writing. But I could often feel their sincerity and the essence of something big they tried to express.

Reading The Hate U Give, I finally got what they were trying to tell me. I’ll tell you why by the numbers.

  1. Angie Thomas, above all, is a superb story teller. The plot about a police shooting drove me from page to page. I read it on a family vacation for hours through a sleepless night in a noisy hotel and through the ultimate test of car reading. My near obsession made me a little carsick, but I kept looking up at the mountains to get my head clear enough to dive back into the story. I almost never do that but had to see what would happen next.
  2. I cared so much because the main character was so well drawn. Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter was a likable person and what happened to her family, her friends, and Starr mattered to me.
  3. The language was fantastic. In the first few pages, my writer’s brain marveled at the way she used dialog and got the speech just right. I am in awe and more than a little envious of her skill.
  4. Even though I know little about rap, I followed the bits about the artists and lyrics she described. The title of the book comes from Tupac’s work with a deeper meaning that I’ll let you read yourself to discover.
  5. What happened felt tragically realistic and, yet, hopeful at the same time. I always admire people who can look at a dire situation and then bring it around to something worth reading about and living for.
  6. Finally, I didn’t agree with everything the character did and thought and would love to discuss the book with someone. I’ll be passing it around and begging others to read it, so I can talk to them–one last and telling mark of a great story. 

Wishing you good books and challenging thoughts-



About the author: Karrie Zylstra Myton is a blogger, essayist, and aspiring author who writes for the wild joy it brings on the best days and the hard lessons she learns about life on the worst. After crafting stories in the ridiculously early morning hours, she chases her two sons, cuddles with cats, and laughs with her husband about how crazy life can get in middle age.

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