Review by New York Times Review
Representing: Angie Thomas's first novel, "The Hate U Give," about the police killing of an unarmed black teenager, has been a stalwart of the young adult hardcover list since its release late in February - it debuted at No. 1 and, after 18 weeks on the list, is back in the top position. Thomas's book made news (including a front-page New York Times profile) partly for its topical story line and partly because Thomas herself, a 29year-old from Jackson, Miss., is so cheerfully a symbol of change in the publishing industry. Mississippi "has a great literary history, but the other authors are dead or white," she told her hometown newspaper in March. "As a kid, I would wonder, 'Is this something that can happen to me, the little black girl from the hood?' " Now that it has, Thomas has become a literary ambassador of sorts, visiting classrooms and, last month, advising would-be authors at BuzzFeed how to represent traditionally underrepresented figures. One tip: Learn your stuff. "If you were writing a legal thriller but have no legal background," she said, "would you do some research? So why not do the same when approaching marginalized characters? When I was writing 'The Hate U Give,' I had to research gangs. I have not been in a gang nor do I have family members who have been in gangs, so I had to research it. I had to look at firsthand accounts of that culture - not just what the media portrays. I watched documentaries and consulted with attorneys. This also applies to identity. If you're writing about a gay boy or a black girl, you need to talk to a gay boy or black girl. You have to go above and beyond to get it right. The internet is a beautiful thing for a writer, but we have to put in the work. I think that's key: Put in the work. Whether you're writing about diversity or a legal thriller, you have to put in the work." Still, Thomas has found some audiences more receptive than others - a fact that led her to young adult literature in the first place. "Not to throw shade or anything," she told Cosmopolitan in March, "but I feel like teenagers are much more openminded and willing to listen." Filters Off: Conservative commentators have expressed mixed feelings, at best, about President Trump's volatile Twitter habits. But Eric Bolling, whose book "The Swamp" hits the hardcover nonfiction list at No. 4, is a fan. "How can the same experts who spent the past two decades calling for 'transparency' in government be unhappy?" he writes. "I say, tweet away, Mr. President! Don't hold back!" ? 'Teenagers are much more openminded and willing to listen.'
Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [July 30, 2017]
Review by Booklist Review
*Starred Review* Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two very different worlds: one is her home in a poor black urban neighborhood; the other is the tony suburban prep school she attends and the white boy she dates there. Her bifurcated life changes dramatically when she is the only witness to the unprovoked police shooting of her unarmed friend Khalil and is challenged to speak out though with trepidation about the injustices being done in the event's wake. As the case becomes national news, violence erupts in her neighborhood, and Starr finds herself and her family caught in the middle. Difficulties are exacerbated by their encounters with the local drug lord for whom Khalil was dealing to earn money for his impoverished family. If there is to be hope for change, Starr comes to realize, it must be through the exercise of her voice, even if it puts her and her family in harm's way. Thomas' debut, both a searing indictment of injustice and a clear-eyed, dramatic examination of the complexities of race in America, invites deep thoughts about our social fabric, ethics, morality, and justice. Beautifully written in Starr's authentic first-person voice, this is a marvel of verisimilitude as it insightfully examines two worlds in collision. An inarguably important book that demands the widest possible readership. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: From the moment this book sold, it has been high-profile. An in-the-works movie adaptation will further push this to the head of the class.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2016 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
At home in a neighborhood riven with gang strife, Starr Carter, 16, is both the grocer's daughter and an outsider, because she attends private school many miles away. But at Williamson Prep, where she's among a handful of black students, she can't be herself either: no slang, no anger, no attitude. That version of herself-"Williamson Starr"-"doesn't give anyone a reason to call her ghetto." She's already wrestling with what Du Bois called "double consciousness" when she accepts a ride home from Khalil, a childhood friend, who is then pulled over and shot dead by a white cop. Starr's voice commands attention from page one, a conflicted but clear-eyed lens through which debut author Thomas examines Khalil's killing, casual racism at Williamson, and Starr's strained relationship with her white boyfriend. Though Thomas's story is heartbreakingly topical, its greatest strength is in its authentic depiction of a teenage girl, her loving family, and her attempts to reconcile what she knows to be true about their lives with the way those lives are depicted-and completely undervalued-by society at large. Ages 14-up. Agent: Brooks Sherman, Bent Agency. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 8 Up-After Starr and her childhood friend Khalil, both black, leave a party together, they are pulled over by a white police officer, who kills Khalil. The sole witness to the homicide, Starr must testify before a grand jury that will decide whether to indict the cop, and she's terrified, especially as emotions run high. By turns frightened, discouraged, enraged, and impassioned, Starr is authentically adolescent in her reactions. Inhabiting two vastly different spheres-her poor, predominantly black neighborhood, Garden Heights, where gangs are a fact of life, and her rich, mostly white private school-causes strain, and Thomas perceptively illustrates how the personal is political: Starr is disturbed by the racism of her white friend Hailey, who writes Khalil off as a drug dealer, and Starr's father is torn between his desire to support Garden Heights and his need to move his family to a safer environment. The first-person, present-tense narrative is immediate and intense, and the pacing is strong, with Thomas balancing dramatic scenes of violence and protest with moments of reflection. The characterization is slightly uneven; at times, Starr's friends at school feel thinly fleshed out. However, Starr, her family, and the individuals in their neighborhood are achingly real and lovingly crafted. VERDICT Pair this powerful debut with Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely's All American Boys to start a conversation on racism, police brutality, and the Black Lives Matter movement.-Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review
African American sixteen-year-old Starr Carter lives a life caught between her rough, predominantly black neighborhood and the "proper," predominantly white prep school she attends. This precarious balance is broken when Starr witnesses the shooting of her (unarmed) childhood friend Khalil by a police officer. Debut author Thomas is adept at capturing the voices of multiple characters in her powerful, in-your-face novel. (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.