Angie Thomas’s debut YA novel, THE HATE U GIVE, has been on the top of everyone’s reading list since it’s release in 2017. With a star-studded cast, including Amandla Stenberg (who plays the protagonist, Starr), Regina Hall, Common, and Issa Rae, the film adaptation is sure to follow in the footsteps of its source material. Addressing important subjects like police brutality, race relations, identity, and privilege, The Hate U Give is the kind of film that will spur conversation long after the credits roll. If you loved the movie and want to read books that will delve deeper in the topics it addresses, here are a few to add to your TBR.
First thing's first—if you've yet to read Angie Thomas's iconic debut, THE HATE U GIVE, drop your current read and pick this one up. After seeing the film, you'll want to revisit the colorful cast of characters that Thomas so expertly fleshes out on the page. THE HATE U GIVE follows a black teen named Starr, who moves between two wildly different worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. When she finds herself at the center of a police brutality controversy, what Starr does or doesn't say could upend her community.
Among police brutality, THE HATE U GIVE touches on several other topics that many black people experience: the microagressions Starr endures at school among her group of friends, her interracial relationship, and the gang violence that's so prevalent around her. Also, the black people Starr interacts with throughout the film and book—her black police officer uncle, a black activist, and her unique family—represent the breadth of the black experience. For a deeper dive into the nuances of black lives, pick up Nafissa Thompson-Spires' short story collection HEADS THE OF COLORED PEOPLE. These moving, timely, and darkly funny stories examines the concept of black identity in this so-called post-racial era.
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Jason Reynold's and Brendan Kiely tackle police brutality in their YA novel, ALL AMERICAN BOYS. Like THE HATE U GIVE, ALL AMERICAN BOYS was widely challenged due to its controversial subject matter. In this award-winning novel, two teens—one black, and one white—grapple with the repercussions of an act of police brutality. Caught on camera, the violence sends shock waves throughout their school, their community, and ultimately the entire country.
In this Coretta Scott King Honor Award–winning novel, 2 teens—one black, and one white—grapple with the repercussions of an act of police brutality. Caught on camera, the violence sends shock waves throughout their school, their community, and ultimately the entire country. It’s a heartbreaking novel that seems ripped from the headlines.
The title THE HATE U GIVE is a reference to the late Tupac Shakur's famous tattoo. The letters T.H.U.G. L.I.F.E. emblazoned across his chest stand for The Hate U Give Little Infants F***s Everyone. The spirit of Tupac's words span the pages of THE HATE U GIVE and are illuminated in the ways in which Starr, burdened with witnessing a senseless act of violence, watches the waves of unrest increase around her. Angie Thomas, possibly the biggest Tupac fan in the world, used his legacy as inspiration when writing her debut. Published posthumously, THE ROSE THAT GREW FROM CONCRETE is a collection of poems Tupac wrote at age 19 that embrace his spirit, his energy—and his ultimate message of hope.
After the death of her friend by a police officer, Starr finds herself at the center of a movement much like the protests that took place in Ferguson after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. Marc Lamont Hill's work of journalism, NOBODY, carefully considers a string of high-profile deaths—Brown, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner and more—and the ways in which communities such as Flint, Michigan—where citizens have been without clean water for close to five years—have eluded government aide. He digs underneath these events to uncover patterns and policies of authority that have allowed some citizens become disempowered, disenfranchised, poor, uneducated, exploited, vulnerable, and disposable. NOBODY is the perfect work of nonfiction to paint a history of many of the systemic injustices Starr brings to light in THE HATE U GIVE.