The Hate U Give may be in the Young Adult genre, but it should be read by everyone living in this country, regardless of age. My soon-to-be sister-in-law gave me this one after hearing glowing reviews from her students. 

The novel by Angie Thomas is narrated by Starr, a 16-year-old black girl straddling the line between her white, upper class high school and her self-proclaimed “ghetto” neighborhood.

That all changes when her close friend is shot by police. It’s a senseless, unprovoked shooting, much like that of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Mike Brown and countless others in America in recent years. Starr witnesses the shooting and is forever changed by it. She must decide which is greater: the risk to speak out, or the risk not to.

The author writes in such a way that you feel like Starr is talking to you directly. She uses slang and social media acronyms—a few of which I had to Google because I’m getting old—and focuses on typical teen worries like dating, friendship drama and even shoes. There are certainly funny, lighthearted moments, but the heavy parts are, well, heavy.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Thomas’ novel truly paints a picture of what it’s like for your day-to-day life to be clouded by the constant fear of racism and police brutality, as well as to face judgment even from those who love you the most.

Give it a read and tell me what you think—you won’t regret it.

Colorfully Yours,

Haley