The Hate U Give: Book Discussion
I’m not part of a book club in real life and sometimes I come across a book I just NEED to discuss with fellow readers! So, I started writing “Book Discussion” posts in hopes of creating a mini virtual book club instead. In these posts you’ll find a short section of information about the author and the book as well as a few questions to answer. Join in the discussion by commenting with your thoughts!
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
About the Author: Angie Thomas is a writer (and former teen rapper!) from Jackson, Mississippi. She earned a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University. The Hate U Give is her first novel and it became an instant success, including a #1 spot on the NY Times Bestseller list.
About the Book: The Hate U Give is a young adult novel about Starr, a teenager living in a poor neighborhood who attends a fancy prep school. After she witnesses an unarmed friend shot and killed by the police, she’s forced to deal with the aftermath. Facing challenges both at home and at school, she must figure out the best path forward for justice.
Discussion Questions (Spoilers Ahead!)
1. What did you think of the portrayal of Chris and Starr’s relationship and the challenges they faced as an interracial couple?
I LOVED these two! Their connection over the Fresh Prince is adorable and for teenagers they seem to handle the internal and external conflicts unbelievably well. I especially enjoyed reading the section when Starr’s dad found out that Chris was white. His initial reaction was severe, but you could tell how much he loved his daughter and was willing to change his views for her happiness. It was also interesting reading about Starr’s hesitation to share her full personality / experiences with Chris. She clearly had worthy reasons for holding back, but you could see the effect it had on their relationship. She showed impressive maturity when she finally let him in.
2. Starr points out how she uses different language, words, and phrases when she’s at home versus at school. Do you find yourself switching your “language” to accommodate different circumstances?
Honestly, it sounded extremely difficult for Starr to adjust her language as much as she did from place to place. I wouldn’t have realized how much our words and mannerisms make up who we are until she points out how adrift she feels when she’s constantly switching it around. To a much smaller extent, I notice I speak differently when at work or around superiors compared to at home with family or friends. I pay closer attention to what I’m saying and how quickly I’m speaking in the first situation. I imagine this is how Starr felt all the time at school or in front of the police.
3. This book is classified as young adult. Do you think that’s an appropriate genre?
Without being a parent, it’s tough to say at what age I’d let a teenager read this story. While there are plenty of intense and scary situations, I think books provide an understanding of other individuals and cultures that would otherwise be practically impossible. So from that perspective, it should be read by teenagers and adults alike. It would certainly lead to valuable discussions about how to treat each other.
4. How did this book change your views on racism in our society?
It’s eye-opening to read about both the subtle and outright forms of racism that still exist. While this is a work of fiction, it’s clearly based on experiences actually happening in our country. I felt Angie did an admirable job writing from all the perspectives of the characters involved. Reading Starr’s thoughts and feelings is a unique opportunity to understand how minorities are affected. It makes me want to discuss these issues and find solutions. This book isn’t perfect, but it’s a helpful read.
Share your thoughts about The Hate U Give in the comments! What other questions would you add to this list?