The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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My Review:

The Hate U Give is a five star must read for teens and adults.  A black family lives in the projects even though they are surrounded by the dangers of drugs, gangs and violence.  The father has a business there, wants to be loyal to his customers and friends and chooses not to abandon where he came from, so against the mother’s will, the family makes the best of it and stays in the neighborhood.  The kids go to a prep school in a nearby white community and the teenage daughter, Starr, experiences a struggle with her identity, behavior, and language as she straddles both worlds.

After a party in the projects, Starr’s friend, Khalil, was driving her home, they get pulled over for a busted tail light, the cop questions him, pulls him out of the car and searches him, and next thing you know, the cop shot him dead.  Devastating and infuriating, the white cop tells a false story about the occurrence, and now as the only other witness, Starr has to decide if it is worth the risk to speak the truth.  Who is responsible for the death of her friend and will telling the real story upset those close to her and put her in danger?

Author Angie Thomas has written an emotional and realistic story that brings to light some of the issues related to class and race.  Heartbreaking, thought provoking and worthy of discussion,  I highly recommend The Hate U Give.  The subject matter is extremely important and incredibly timely; I will have my high school son read it and I look forward to the upcoming movie!

 

As seen on Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

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About the Author:

Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi as indicated by her accent. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop. She can also still rap if needed. She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Meyers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. Her debut novel, The Hate U Give, was acquired by Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins in a 13-house auction and published in spring 2017. Film rights have been optioned by Fox 2000 with George Tillman attached to direct and Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg set to star.

Nonfiction recommendations for you!

It’s the doldrums of winter and you may have a vacation planned or you may be snowed in, but either way, use any extra time to catch up on your reading, expand your knowledge base, understand others’ perspectives and enjoy a little nonfiction. Here are some wonderful books not to be missed.

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Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance
As stated in Goodreads:
From a former Marine and Yale Law School Graduate, a poignant account of growing up in a poor Appalachian town, that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class. Part memoir, part historical and social analysis, J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy is a fascinating consideration of class, culture, and the American dream.

 

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When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
As stated in Goodreads:
At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor making a living treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. Just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air, which features a Foreword by Dr. Abraham Verghese and an Epilogue by Kalanithi’s wife, Lucy, chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a young neurosurgeon at Stanford, guiding patients toward a deeper understanding of death and illness, and finally into a patient and a new father to a baby girl, confronting his own mortality.

 

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Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo
As stated in Goodreads:
From Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century’s great, unequal cities.

In this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human.

 

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Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World by Seth Siegel
As stated in Goodreads:
As every day brings urgent reports of growing water shortages around the world, there is no time to lose in the search for solutions.
Beautifully written, Let There Be Water is and inspiring account of the vision and sacrifice by a nation and people that have long made water security a top priority. Despite scant natural water resources, a rapidly growing population and economy, and often hostile neighbors, Israel has consistently jumped ahead of the water innovation-curve to assure a dynamic, vital future for itself. Every town, every country, and every reader can benefit from learning what Israel did to overcome daunting challenges and transform itself from a parched land into a water superpower.

If you want to learn more about how you can help with the water crisis check out Innovation Africa, a worthy organization that is making a difference.

 

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Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
As Stated in Goodreads:
Claudia Rankine’s bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV-everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person’s ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named “post-race” society.

Say Goodbye For Now

 

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The Goodreads blurb says:

On an isolated Texas ranch, Dr. Lucy cares for abandoned animals. The solitude allows her to avoid the people and places that remind her of the past. Not that any of the townsfolk care. In 1959, no one is interested in a woman doctor. Nor are they welcoming Calvin and Justin Bell, a newly arrived African American father and son.

When Pete Solomon, a neglected twelve-year-old boy, and Justin bring a wounded wolf-dog hybrid to Dr. Lucy, the outcasts soon find refuge in one another. Lucy never thought she’d make connections again, never mind fall in love. Pete never imagined he’d find friends as loyal as Justin and the dog. But these four people aren’t allowed to be friends, much less a family, when the whole town turns violently against them.

With heavy hearts, Dr. Lucy and Pete say goodbye to Calvin and Justin. But through the years they keep hope alive…waiting for the world to catch up with them.

My Comments:

Catherine Ryan Hyde has written over 30 novels including Pay it Forward which was made into a movie in 2000.Her latest book, Say Goodbye For Now is a touching story taking place from the late 1950s to the late 1960s. It starts out with Pete, a 12 year old boy finding what he thinks is an injured dog on the side of the road in a small Texas town. His good pal ditches him to go fishing so Pete, an honest, goodhearted soul decides to help the injured animal on his own. He runs into another young boy, Justin, who agrees to walk with him for a short while and after many miles he delivers the lame dog he calls Prince to a doctor, Dr. Lucy, who has since given up her human practice to take in injured animals and nurse them back to health. Dr. Lucy informs Pete that Prince is part wolf and is a wild animal that will need to be released once he heals but Pete is hopeful that will not be the case.

Some townspeople saw Pete walking to the Dr. with Justin and informed Pete’s dad. It is 1959 and whites fraternizing with blacks was looked down upon so Pete’s dad, a small minded, power hungry, single father on leave from work due to a back injury whipped his son and threatened him. And then Justin was violently beat up. Pete brought injured and bloody Justin to Dr. Lucy and Calvin, Justin’s concerned and loving dad arrived to make sure his boy was ok.

The connection between Lucy and Calvin was immediate and undeniable. Calvin was appreciative for the care Lucy was giving his son, but there was more to it.  Yet it was dangerous and against the law for them to be together. The people in the small town in Texas were not in favor of mixed race relationships and they went so far as to beat up Calvin and get him sent to jail.

Would the laws prevent Lucy and Calvin from ever having a chance to let their relationship grow? Who would take care of Justin when his dad was in jail? Could Pete go home back to his abusive father? Could Lucy open up her heart and her home to Pete, Justin and Calvin? What would happen when Prince was healed? If you love animals, friendship, forbidden love and what is right, you will be touched by this novel.

Say Goodbye For Now is set during a time where the laws prevented freedom. Loving vs Virginia is the actual civil rights decision of the US. Supreme Court that came about in 1967. It stated that previous laws prohibiting interracial marriage were invalid. So finally, approximately 8 years after Lucy and Calvin met, interracial relationships were declared legal.

The characters in Say Goodbye For Now show us that those who rescue others also need to be rescued. Caring, appreciative people with solid moral values have a good chance at finding happiness and seeing the good in the world while judgmental people with fears and prejudice may always be fighting to stay on top by beating others down. And, most of all, saying goodbye may not mean forever.  This emotional story pulled at my heartstrings and I read the second half through my tears.