By Priscilla Trinh, senior writing coach
At the mention of YA novels, I simultaneously recoil and reach for fond memories. Notorious for its angst and tricky love triangles, YA novels may appear to be superficial and a phase to outgrow — certainly something a senior would not want to be associated with. But think again, especially when regarding The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.
Released in 2017 as a debut novel, Thomas’s story is inspired by police shootings and offers a human glimpse into a black community’s response to such tragedies. The novel follows sixteen-year old Starr who witnesses the shooting of her best friend one night by a policeman, through her journey of grief while navigating the complexities of racism, activism, and in general “teenhood.” Set in modern time, the dialogue and relationship dynamics are full of humor and expletives that are all too familiar. Starr’s observations highlight both the warmth of a tight knit community and the ugly truths of a ghetto, portraying the struggles of straddling two worlds in a relatable, not condemning manner.
Amongst the praise for Jordans and Fresh Prince of Bel Air are bits of wisdom, gentle prods that flip our reasoning and force us to ask what we would do in those circumstances. Oh, and Tupac. The legend has quite the influence on the story, providing material for the book’s title — “The Hate U Give.” It is in reference to the late rapper’s tattoo “THUG LIFE” which stands for “The Hate U Give Little Infants F*cks Everybody.” This motif is addressed multiple times in the novel but in order to avoid spoiling it for you, it will have to suffice to say for now that the message is significant. #staywoke
Though aware of this novel’s rippling effects, I was not in any hurry to read it at first. But due to the magic of the six minds that run this blog and an enthusiastic media specialist, Books for Breakfast was born and T.H.U.G was chosen as the first novel to be discussed at the book club’s launch. Books for Breakfast was held two mornings this past week, and it was quite a success if I do say so myself. Food and discussions were aplenty, in addition to good vibes. Plus the District has granted the club a lump sum of money, so we’re set for next year! If you can’t join B4B, then at least give The Hate U Give a try and stay tuned for future reads.