Unnervingly, there is a scene in the book ‘a hairbrush is not a gun’, It rings disturbingly similar to the many incidents of these shootings and ones similar to what the main character Starr witnesses. Having read The Hate U Give, it reminded me of the shooting of Charles Kinsey, just one of many examples I could sadly choose to compare ‘The Hate U Give’ to. Kinsey can be heard telling the police ‘it’s a toy truck” “I am a behaviour therapist at the group home. That’s all it is.” Is this the everyday life of a black american? having to try to convince police officers - who are meant to protect the public unbiasedly - try to convince them that they aren't holding a gun?
An honest account of what is happening in America right now, as a white reader, the experience reading this debut novel gave me is valuable. I’m not ignorant by any means, but reading this has opened my eyes even further to the issues young black people face in America. You’re reading the novel and thinking, ‘I had no idea it was this bad’, especially living in the UK as I do. Witnessing the injustice that Khalil and Starr face is excruciating to read, I finished this a sobbing mess, feeling a melancholic, sick, sinking feeling, that I know the issues within this novel are in fact real life problems. This is such an important read honestly, not only is it tackling issue of a lack of diversity within the YA world, but I think everybody has a lot to gain from reading this. There isn't a possibility that you can’t not be moved after reading this. I haven't stopped thinking about this novel, these characters and what needs to be done to make a change in the real world, since I turned the last page. Not many books make an impact like this on me. The last book I finished that I still think about well over a year later, is ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by Khaled Hosseini. Another read i’d highly recommend. Still with me, in the same way I know ‘The Hate U Give’ will be. When I was younger, the only other books to stick with me, funnily enough are the Harry Potter series (cemented into my childhood like an old friend) and ‘War Horse’ by Michael Morpurgo. Another tragic story but about the World War, in a different sense altogether a story of loss, with memorable characters. Whilst all of the books mentioned are completely different, they all have the underlying factor that ‘The Hate U Give’ also provides, the characters allow you into their world, you build a relationship with them and you don't want to let go. It’s books like this that prove reading keeps you in-tune with the outside world.