Published by Balzer + Bray on February 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Barnes & Noble, Buy at The Book Depository
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
What I Expected
- Honestly, I was afraid I was throwing myself into a political rant
- A book I wouldn’t be able to relate to
What I Got
- A top contender for read of the year!
- Tears, laughter, understanding
- My new favorite heroine
- Chills – it is THAT good!
What I Thought
I never dreamed I would relate SO MUCH, err…at all, to The Hate U Give. While I have not lost a dear friend to death by shooting, I did lose my best friend to an accidental drug overdose. As with Khalil, my precious pal was assumed by those who didn’t truly know his heart to be a druggie, a throwaway.
I was sucked into this book after reading about two pages and could barely put it down. Before I started reading, I remember wondering how in the world Thomas could fill over 400 pages with the story; after reading, I totally understood.
THUG tore my heart out, ripped it up, stepped on it, and stuffed it back into my chest – over and over and over again. Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter, our heroine, is so unbelievably strong – and brave, an adjective which Starr does not feel accurately applies to her. Starr is much braver than I would have been – or was.
Starr handles herself with such strength and poise, whereas, in real life, I fell completely apart – for a long time. The story of Khalil and Starr’s unbreakable friendship – and mutual crushes – mirrors that of my own with my ‘thug,’ Brian.
One of my most favorite aspects of Thomas’ saga is her inclusion of Tupac lyrics and explanations. I love how throughout various points in the novel, Starr is listening to Tupac and his lyrics are relayed to the reader. Tupac’s meaning of the phrase THUG LIFE blows me away. I won’t give it away here – you HAVE to read this book to find out what it is – if you don’t already know, which I sure didn’t.
While THUG is current and reminiscent of recent events, I definitely didn’t feel like the news was basically shoved down my throat while reading. THUG is the tale of a young girl who simply faces tragedy and rises as does the proverbial phoenix from the ashes. Starr is now my literary hero – her story is simply inspirational and heartfelt and heartbreaking and touching and REAL. THUG is just what I needed – something I could relate to, in my own little way.
It has literally taken days for me to put my feelings about this book into words – I’m finding it so difficult – I wish I could pluck y’all from behind your screens and put you into my shoes as I read this book. Then my emotions would be wholly – and easily – explained.
I was afraid to read THUG for a long time, but, to be totally honest, had to read it just to see if it lives up to the hype. Well, it did live up to its outstanding reputation and blew my expectations completely out of the water. I would give this beautiful book 5000 stars if I could…hell, consider my five stars 5000+!
All I can do is leave y’all with this:
Keep Ya Head Up