Book Club: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This Young Adult book by Angie Thomas was one of our highest ranked when our book club voted on our next few months of book picks! I had seen The Hate U Give on a number of reading lists and social media posts but I honestly did not know what it was about until I saw the trailer:

I admit I was anxious about this book club because it does hit so close to the chest for the United States, which I think made it necessary for us to have this conversation. Obviously, the book is much bigger than 400+ pages of content but it gave us a starting point. We also wondered how this book is received by younger adults, in secondary education. Thoughts about where we were when in high school, in terms of the climate of the country, I couldn’t imagine reading something like this then. However, because it is a reality, it might be appropriate to serve as a talking piece for students. We learned that this book is being used as part of the curriculum in schools across the country, and I wonder what that means for the younger generations as they grow up and become leaders within the country. It is not just about educating students on activism but also grief and loss. The majority of us work in education so we were curious as to how we support students as they make sense of the content and realities with social justice and inclusion.

Digging into the characters, we agreed that it is not uncommon to have this perspective of a double life like Starr, especially when coming to college. Blending two of our worlds together may seem impossible and like the two are so starkly different that there’s no way we can be our whole selves. Maybe because it is simply easier to keep them separate or we’re afraid of what may happen if they do collide. We went back and forth on Hailey’s character since it teetered on being a missed opportunity OR realizing that some people don’t change as it came to her words and behaviors with Starr and Maya. However, the conversations throughout the book were believable around sensitive topics – whether between friends, authorities, or family.

I am interested to see what the reaction is within our public school system with The Hate U Give as a book selection as well as the curriculum around it! Until then, here are some notable quotes I’d like to share:

The Hate U – the letter U – Give Little Infants F*@%s Everybody. T-H-U-G L-I-F-E. Meaning what society gives us as youth, it bites them in the a** when we wild out.

That means flipping the switch in my brain so I’m Williamson Starr. Williamson Starr doesn’t use slang – if a rapper would say it, she doesn’t say it, even if her white friends do. Slang makes them cool. Slang makes her ‘hood.’ Williamson Starr holds her toungue when people piss her off so nobody think she’s the ‘angry black girl.’… Basically, Williamson Starr doesn’t give anyone a reason to call her ghetto. I can’t stand myself for doing it, but I do it anyway

At an early age I learned that people make mistakes, and you have to decide if their mistakes are bigger than your love for them

Up next, we are kicking off Fall with Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.

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