The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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Summary

Introduction

The Hate U Give is a young adult novel written by Angie Thomas and published in 2017. It was a number-one New York Times Best Seller, made the 2017 National Book Award Longlist, and was adapted into a movie in 2018. The book’s setting, events, and characters are largely inspired by Thomas’s own life: the struggle of the protagonist, Starr Carter, to come to terms with her identities and with the fatal shooting of her friend Khalil reflect Thomas’s own experiences after the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant in Oakland, California. 

Plot Summary

The Hate U Give opens with the protagonist, Starr Carter, attending a party in her neighborhood, Garden Heights. Starr is a sixteen-year-old high school student who attends a prestigious prep school across town. She lives with her father, Maverick; her mother, Lisa; and her brother, Sekani; her half-brother Seven often stays with them. Starr is black and feels out of place both in Garden Heights and at Williamson Prep: at home, she feels she no longer fits in, and at school, she is one of the few black students in a mostly-white student body. At the party, Starr sees her friend Khalil (with whom she shared her first kiss a few years prior), and they discuss Garden Heights and their families. From her conversations with Khalil, Starr realizes that he has likely been involved in drug dealing. This fact is confirmed later in the story, although Khalil only sold drugs to help pay off his mother’s debt. When shots ring out at the party, Starr leaves with Khalil.

Khalil and Starr chat and listen to music in Khalil’s car but are interrupted by a police siren. Starr immediately recalls a talk her father once gave her about how to act around policemen: she should do what they tell her and avoid making any sudden movements. The police officer pulls Khalil and Starr over. 

The police officer asks Khalil for his documents, but Khalil asks why he was pulled over. Remembering instructions from her father that she should always take note of police officers’ badge numbers in interactions with them, Starr notes that this officer is “one-fifteen.” Khalil grows impatient, and the officer tells him to get out of the car and put his hands where they can be seen. One-Fifteen, as Starr mentally refers to him, pats Khalil down and finds nothing.

One-Fifteen orders Khalil and Starr not to move and starts to return to his car, but Khalil moves to the door to check on Starr. One-Fifteen shoots him three times. The officer then orders Starr not to move when she tries to help Khalil. An ambulance arrives, but they can’t save Khalil. Starr’s parents arrive to take her home.

Starr is haunted by Khalil’s death and has a nightmare about it. Her uncle Carlos, a police officer, wants her to go to the police to give her statement; her parents worry about her safety if she testifies and want to give her time to recover. Starr eventually agrees to testify and gives her account of the story at the police station one day after school. 

At school, Starr pretends not to have known Khalil. Her relationship with her boyfriend, Chris, grows tense, and she notices her classmates’ microaggressions and racist comments. The Garden Heights neighborhood begins to stir, infuriated by what happened to Khalil. Starr attends Khalil’s funeral, and a lawyer named April Ofrah approaches Starr; Ms. Ofrah hopes to help Starr speak out and wants to give Khalil’s case national attention. 

A young member of the King Lords gang named DeVante meets Starr and Maverick on their way back to the convenience store one day and informs them that he is hiding from King, the leader of the King Lords. DeVante asks Maverick how he escaped the gang life, as he was once a member of the King Lords; Maverick explains that he took the blame when police arrested him and King for possessing weapons and was taken to prison as a result, leaving King indebted to him. King’s debt to Maverick made it possible for Maverick to leave the gang. Maverick...

(The entire section is 1,258 words.)