Starr Carter inhabits two different worlds, she lives in the all black urban neighborhood of Garden Heights, but attends a nearly all white suburban school, and in response she has cultivated two different versions of herself; the only person she feels like she can be her real self around is her (white) boyfriend Chris, who she hasn’t gotten up the nerve to tell her father about. All aspects of her world change irrevocably though when her childhood best friend is shot and killed by a police officer while she’s in the car with him.
The Hate U Give, is a powerful book that give current events (like the riots in Ferguson, MO) a face and doesn’t ignore the realities of everyday teenage life (Starr’s friend unfollowed her on tumblr and their relationship has been strained since). It also touches on the less over the top, in your face, obvious racism; the racism that’s institutionalized and that many might not even think of as racist. All of Thomas‘s characters feel real, with their own stories, motivations, and flaws. Starr’s story isn’t always easy to read (emotionally at least), but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds