Powerful, Personal, and World-view Changing


Starr Carter (16) lives in a black neighborhood with poor families and where crime runs rampant. Her parents, with their own complicated lives, work hard to get her into a top-notch school with privileged kids in the suburbs. Starr switches between these two worlds constantly, managing to get by.

When her best friend Khalil is killed by a police officer and her world turns upside down. Accusations and insults are thrown around her neighborhood as people protest for different sides. Starr is the only one who truly knew what went on that night and she knows Khalil wasn’t the one at fault. The officer was the one responsible for this whole mess and he isn’t going to make up for it. Starr is afraid to speak up and relive Khalil’s brutal death. Her words could change everything or be the end of it all. 

BTSYA / Teen Reader (16):
The Hate U Give is an incredibly eye-opening and powerful story. It gave me an insight into the reality of police violence and is something I will never forget when I see/hear about shootings. Thomas talks about a variety of issues, including differences in wealth, treatment, and the lives of people from different races.

Along with bringing light to a controversial issue, The Hate U Give is also a very well written story. Every character seems so real. They all had relationships and bad, good, funny, sad, and happy moments. Sometimes I couldn’t help but smile at the funny moments. I also cried, smiled and in general felt what they felt along every step of the way. I was simply attached to these characters and their lives. They each taught me about the value of family, bravery, and so much more.

There are controversial - and some may say offensive - themes: police brutality, race, violence, and mature language are some examples. They are used thoughtfully to make a greater impact on the reader and shouldn’t stop you from reading this book. Any negatives don’t make the story’s greater message any less important. I highly suggest this book for anyone, if they are 13 years or older. For those looking for a heartbreaking, but a world-changing story, this book is for you.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Realistic characters and powerful events will resonate with readers and make them feel they have first-hand experience in a ripped-from-the-headline type story.

Content Awareness Factors:

The story's themes and events are provocative and may make some readers uncomfortable. The use of violence and profanity are tied to the story and are not used gratuitously. NOTE: The reading level is mid-level elementary, but this is a story for older readers, 8th grade and up.

Type of Book:
This is a contemporary, fictional young adult novel, that many will see as "ripped from the headlines."
Educational Themes:

There is a lot to parse and discuss in The Hate U Give. There is a lot of character-driven discussions, particularly as it relates to the choice(s) Starr faces, but there are also broader themes of stereotyping, prejudice, and mob mentality. These latter ideas can open discussions about preconceived notions and the risks of relying on our feelings, as well as breaking down facts as/when we know them: what does Character X (a) really know; (b) think they know; (c) what is really unknown/unanswered.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
10 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
15 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 16
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. This is a powerful book that will stay with you a long time. It may be a book you come back to, but it will definitely be a book you want to share with other people.

Title The Hate U Give
Author Angie Thomas
Publisher Balzer + Bray, Imprint HarperCollins Publishers © 2017
ISBN 9780062498533
Material Hard Cover
Cost $18.99
Genres Coming Of Age, Crime, Realism | Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Urban Fiction, Social Issues
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