Starr Carter lives in the poor, predominately black neighborhood of Garden Heights where her folks grew up. She attends school at a private school in the suburbs because her parents see that as her ticket to success. Mom is a registered nurse and dad runs Carer's Grocery, where "...white-painted metal bars protect the windows and door" (Thomas 38). Her story opens at a party that her parents don't know about, and the night ends with Kahlil's body on the pavement, blood streaming and silent.
This pivotal event further traps Starr between warring worlds. They are a reality populated by gangs, prejudice, family struggle, and politics. Yet Starr and Kahlil are just teenagers who played hopscotch, rode scooters, and ate popsicles once upon a time. However, there will be no more Freeze Cups for the road or "after a while, crocodile" (66). Life is never simple, and The Hate U Give does not offer cliches or easy answers for the reader. Life is messy and people are flawed. Many teenagers have seen more ugly than could fit in a lifetime, and Garden Heights is brimming with heroes and villains.
Great novels leave us with more questions than answers, and they compel us to see the world through lens that sometimes make us uncomfortable. Everyone is someone's child, someone's friend, and deserves love despite our flaws. This novel might be written for young adults, but it is a narrative that belongs to the world.
Thomas, Angie. The Hate U Give. New York, NY: Balzer Bray, an Imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2017. Print.