The Hate U Give

REVIEW: The Hate U Give (2018)

Starr (Amanda Stenberg) has two lives, one in her poor black neighbourhood and one in her affluent, predominately white private school. Those two lives come crashing down when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil (Algee Smith) by a police officer, and Starr must find her voice and stand up for what’s right.

The Hate U Give is a fantastic film. It’s about so many real-world problems affecting black people. It talks about race, discrimination, poverty, drugs and violence. Starr lives in a neighbourhood where there’s so many open and warm people, but there’s also the gang led by King (Anthony Mackie) that is a constant threatening presence in everyone’s lives. Starr describes herself as two people, Starr Version One is who she is at home, when she’s with her family and her people, Starr Version Two is who she is at school, where she doesn’t use any slang and doesn’t cause a fuss.

Amandla Stenberg is fantastic at showing the different sides of Starr, how they conflict and how over the cause of the investigation into Khalil’s death she learns to find her voice and be her true self. Starr is more of a watcher to begin with, standing in the corner at parties and just watching how events unfold. More things, often horrible things, happen to her than her being proactive, but as the fear and pressure mounts, she starts to choose to react to what she’s seen and it’s all the more powerful when she does.

Stenberg carries the film brilliantly, but she’s also surrounded by a great cast, the majority of which give nuanced performances. Russell Hornsby and Regina Hall play Starr’s parents Maverick and Lisa, who each want the best for Starr and their family as a whole but that translates into different things. Lisa wants to protect her family, ideally moving them out of the neighbourhood to somewhere safer, while Maverick says this is their home and encourages Starr to speak out and do what she thinks is right. They are both incredibly loving parents and any scenes with Starr and her family can go from being sweet and funny one moment, to them all suddenly being under threat.

Besides from being a film with an important message, The Hate U Give also shows the life of a modern teenage girl to great effect. Starr and her friends have Tumblr’s, they have different tastes in music, and when friendships become strained Starr must weigh up the positives and the negatives to see if this relationship she wants to fight for. It’s the little things, Starr’s love of The Fresh Prince and how she and her friends used to play at being Harry Potter makes her a relatable modern teenager.

The Hate U Give is a heart-breaking and powerful film, but at its heart there is a strength to it and so much heart. It will make you cry but it will also make you laugh. It balances so many different elements but with an assured direction from George Tillman Jr. and Amandla Stenberg’s phenomenal lead performance, The Hate U Give is an incredible film that will stand the test of time. 5/5.

I read, loved and reviewed The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas last year, you can find that review here.

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TOP 5 WEDNESDAY: Book List for a Class on Feminism

Top 5 Wednesday is a great feature hosted by ThoughtsonTomes. To find out more about Top 5 Wednesday and the upcoming topics, check out its Goodreads page. This week in honour of summer coming to an end and it soon being the start of the new school year, we can create our own reading list for a topic of our choice. I chose feminism as I think both fiction and non-fiction are a great way to get people talking about feminism and see how it can affect different people.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
Moxie is all about a girl finding her voice and finding a sense of unity with the girls in her school, crossing the usual cliques, and learning to stand up for what she believes in.

Who Runs the World? by Virginia Bergin
Since reading Who Runs the World? I’ve thought about it fair bit and would give it a lower rating than I did when I read it, but I think it would be a good book to show the “extremes” of feminism and how if there’s no men, it probably wouldn’t be a utopia.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Besides being a great book, The Hate U Give would be a great book to look at the intersectionality of feminism and racism.

 

Men Explain Things to Me and Other Essays by Rebecca Solnit
Got to have some non-fiction in a class on feminism. This is a short collection of essays and one of them is the origin of the term “mansplaining” so that would be an interesting thing to discuss.

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
The three main girls are all different, Rosina is a Mexican-American lesbian, Grace is fat, and Erin has Asperger’s, but they come together to try and change things as another girl was run out of town for accusing the popular guys at school of gang rape.

I think all these books would prompt good discussions about feminism. They offer different takes on feminism and a lot of them have strong, complex female characters who are trying to find their place in the world but are trying to make things a little bit better at the same time.

What books would you choose if you were running a class of feminism? I’m sure there are many great books I’ve forgotten.

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top Ten Favourite Books of 2017

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week. It’s coming up to that time of year where we reflect on what we’ve read and decide which books have been our favourites. Now there is a couple of weeks left of 2017 so something could sneak in here but here’s how it stands at the moment.

In no particular order, here are my ten favourite books of 2017 – links go to my review.

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
This book is a great feminist read. I sped though this book because I related to the characters so much and as I read I’d get this pain in my chest because it felt so real and was equal parts inspiring and frustrating.

Frangipani by Celestine Hitiura Vaite
This book surprised me by how much I loved it. It’s a family drama with a compelling mother/daughter relationship at its heart and it’s such a nice read. I know “nice” isn’t really seen as a positive word but that’s what it is, there’s no major drama or sudden plot twists, it’s just a comforting read.

Power Man and Iron Fist Vol. 1: The Boys are Back in Town by David Walker, Sanford Greene and Flaviano
This was such a fun comic! The art style is really cool and vibrant, and I loved the relationship between Danny and Luke. If you like the Marvel Netflix shows featuring these two, then I’d definitely recommend this comic. (more…)

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Top Ten Books I Want My Hypothetical Future Children to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature run by BrokeAndBookish each week. This week the topic is all about the books we want our future hypothetical kids to read – or if we have any young children in our lives like nieces and nephews, what books we’d love them to read. I don’t know if I’ll have children, but there are definitely some books that I feel young kids should read, and books that shaped me and I’d love to share.

The Magician’s House Quartet by William Corlet
This series was one of the first to make me cry and I was less than ten years old. I’m not saying I want to make my hypothetical children cry but I’d like to see if it affects them as much as it did me.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
This whole series is magical but The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the most magical and I think it’s one of the most accessible for younger readers.

The Animal Ark series by Lucy Daniels
I actually gave all my Animal Ark books, all 70+ of them, to my Godmothers daughter years ago, from what I heard she did enjoy them and I hope now she’s a teenager that she’s either got them in a safe place or has passed them on to someone else to love. (more…)

Mid-Year Book Freak-out Tag

We’re halfway through the year (what?! How? Ahhh!) so as I was going to do a little recap of what my reading goals are and how I’m doing, I thought I’d do a tag as well.

My reading goals for 2017 was to continue with the Read the World Project (which I have been doing) put £1 aside for every book I’ve read (I’ve been doing that as well) and cut my physical TBR to 50 books – my TBR currently stands at 97 books so that one definitely needs some work and I need to stop buying books! I also set my Goodreads goal at 50 books and I’ve currently read 26 so I’m making steady progress with that.

So those were my goals and now onto the tag. This tag was created by ReadLikeWildfire over on booktube and I’ve seen many a booktuber take part and I decided I wanted to have a go too.

1. Best book you’ve read so far this year
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
This book man. It’s so important and enlightening and heartfelt and brilliant. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in ages and it’s one of those books that has stuck with me.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far this year
March Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell
I haven’t read many sequels at all so far this year, in fact the only sequels I’ve read was when I marathoned the March graphic novel trilogy. The third book was just as good as the rest even if I struggled to get through it sometimes due to how intolerant people were (and still are).

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.
Electric Souk by Rose McGinty
This was released in March but I’ve had it for less than a month as it came in the Grand Summer Adventure NinjaBookBox. I hadn’t heard of it before it came into my possession but it is definitely a book that I’m super looking forward to reading. (more…)

REVIEW: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighboured she grew up in and the posh high school she attends where she’s one of two black kids there. The uneasy balance between the two is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of Khalil, her unarmed best friend, by a police officer. Now if Starr speaks up it could destroy her community, and it could get her killed.

Starr witnesses a terrible crime and you’re right there with her as she goes through the stages of grief. She’s so strong and brave but she doesn’t always feel that way. You feel her pain and anger but you also can understand her parents who just want to keep her safe – whether that means speaking out about what happened or keeping it a secret. I loved Starr and her family. Her parents are kind of #relationshipgoals and parenting goals really, they both may have made mistakes in the past but they love each other and their children and will do anything to make life better for them.

The Hate U Give is brilliantly written – there’s so many lines I could quote that are either touching or profound or just funny. While there’s all this awfulness going on in Starr’s life, she’s still a teenager and the way her voice, and the voice of all the teens in the book are captured, makes it so real. There’s arguments with her boyfriend, the in-jokes she shares with her brothers, and there’s something not right between her and her friends and she doesn’t know why, but knows it started when one of them stopped following her on Tumblr – it’s stuff like that that helps make all these characters feel vibrant and real.

The Hate U Give is sometimes a tough read, it pulls on your heart and makes you just as angry and frustrated as Starr. It’s a roller-coaster of emotions as it’s so similar to real life events that have happened over the past few years that you just don’t know if everything will be alright. It still manages to give you a bit of hope though, that while some people won’t change, others will or will use their voice.

The Hate U Give is a phenomenal book about friendship, loyalty, family and using your voice. It made me smile, it made me tear up and I can’t recommend it enough. 5/5.