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Book Rec: The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

Updated: Apr 9

“That’s the problem. We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes ok to them and normal for us. What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”

a young girl holding a sign that says "the Hate U Give"

THUG (The Hate You Give) is Thomas’ debut novel, narrated by Starr Carter, a 16-year-old African American girl from a poor neighborhood who attends an elite private school. The uneasy balance between both worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses a fatal shooting of her childhood best friend by a police officer. Becoming national news, Starr and her family are thrust into the spotlight. Some calling him a thug, some taking to the streets in protest of police brutality. What went down that night?

This 2017 novel is heartbreakingly topical and a powerful story for justice. A New York Times bestseller and William C. Morris Award winner.

Discussion Questions

  1. Chapter 2 begins with Starr’s flashback to the two talks her parents gave: one about the birds & the bees and the other about encountering a police officer. Reflect upon this. Have you had similar conversations about what to do when stopped by the police?

  2. Once news of Khalil’s death spreads, unrest rises, and the neighborhood becomes “a war zone.” How does this parallel the real world and current events?

  3. What does Starr mean when she refers to different versions of herself? Why does she need to be a different version in various settings and “keep them separate?”

  4. Starr pledges to “never be quiet.” How can you use your voice to promote social justice? How do you and your community address inequalities?

  5. What insights from this book will you carry with you? What is your remedy in a world marked by injustice and prejudice?

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