Friday, January 25, 2019

Buddy Read Update No. 2: The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give
Angie Thomas
Hardcover, 444 pages
Balzer + Bray
February 28, 2017
African-American Fiction,Coming-of-Age, Contemporary Fiction, Diverse Reads,
Social Justice, Young Adult Fiction

A three-time winner of Goodreads Choice Awards

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.


This buddy read is presented by 
Maria @ A Night's Dream of Books
Barb @ Booker T's Farm!!

For this week's post, 
we both read Chapters 8 to 14.

Be sure to visit Barb's blog to read
her half of our "chat"! 
You can access her post HERE!!

This post, as well as that of my fellow
buddy reader, may contain spoilers!
Read at your own risk!!

We're both well into this book now! I must say that, in spite of all the profanity (which I don't like at all), I'm finding this to be a RIVETING read. Thomas has created characters that one can really resonate with! She has totally made the point that all human beings are basically alike, underneath different skin colors, cultures and belief systems. We all want justice and decency for ourselves and our families. We all want a harmonious, peaceful planet. Well....perhaps I shouldn't have stated that "all" of us want these same things. There are, unfortunately, people out there who want power over their fellow human beings over and above the things I mentioned above. Otherwise, novels like The Hate U Give would not be necessary reading in this world.... 

So now I'm going to answer this second week's questions from Barb. She, too, will be answering my own questions. The link to her post is above.

Our last post will be a review of the book. Please refer to our Launch Post for the weekly schedule. You can find that post HERE.

Barb: You asked how I felt when Ofrah announced at Khalil's funeral that the officer wasn't going to be charged and I have a question for you along those lines. How did you feel in general about Just Us for Justice being present at the funeral at all? Do you think it was the time and the place for them to make their presence known? I know funerals are often full of drama but this one really amped it up.

Maria: Girl, you just seem to keep reading my mind! Lol. This is a sign we're both in tune with this book! 

To be honest, I had the same little niggling thought as I was reading that part of the novel. At first, I really didn't think it was appropriate for Ofrah to be at Khalil's funeral. (And by the way, have you noticed the similarity to the name "Oprah"? I think this was intentional on the author's part.) I said to myself, she should have waited to contact the family after the funeral. Starr needed some time in order to process her feelings about what happened. Also, Khalil's family, as well as the community, needed time to process it.

Later, though, I changed my mind completely. The funeral was actually the PERFECT time and place for her to introduce herself and her organization to Starr's family, as well as the community. What I do think she should have done, though, was to protect the privacy of Starr and her family by not giving them her card at the end of the funeral. Starr was nervous about people knowing that she was "the witness". So I do think that Ofrah could have been more discreet about that. She could have easily found out where Starr lived, or she could have gone to Maverick's (Starr's dad) store, and given him her card there.

As for the drama that erupted at the funeral, I was SHOCKED. I've NEVER attended a funeral that was as disruptive as this one! However, I don't blame Ms. Rosalie one bit for acting as she did. The King Lords are similar to the Mafia in the way they operate. Ms. Rosalie did not want them present at Khalil's funeral, and I totally agree with her! I also totally agree with her opinion of Iesha......

Another "by the way": the organization named Just Us For Justice is obviously a reference to the real-life organization, Black Lives Matter, although the names are not similar. However, both organizations have the same goal: achieving justice for African-Americans. 

Barb: The drama between Starr, Hailey and Maya seems to be deepening. When it came out that Hailey actually unfollowed Starr's Tumblr for potential racial reasons, and that she had made comments to Maya in the past that were inappropriate, do you think they will remain friends? Seems Maya and Starr have formed a sort of alliance. Do you think the character of Hailey can be redeemed? 

Maria: Yes, the drama has been deepening, and in Chapter 14 Thomas gets to the bottom of it. Maya is actually not part of the problem except insofar as she has been Hailey's friend. But then Hailey made a racist comment to Maya as well. Now Maya's eyes have been opened, so that's why she and Starr are now allies. Both of them are racial minorities; Starr is African-American, while Maya is Chinese-American. Clearly, Hailey does have an issue with their ethnicity.

I don't think racists can be reformed, UNLESS they come to realize that they are, indeed, racists, that this is wrong, and strive to change. I myself was brought up to be a racist, but I rebelled. Nevertheless, this was something that my family definitely tried to instill in me.

The bottom line is this: a racist can either remain a racist, once they realize that they ARE one, or make every effort to change. Sadly, die-hard racists are unable to change, because they don't think they are, in fact, racists. Hailey is one of these people. She simply doesn't SEE that her way of thinking and looking at the world are totally racist. 

Here's the passage from Chapter 14 in which Maya finally tells Starr the UGLY truth:

"She's lying," Maya says. That's not why she unfollowed you. She said she didn't wanna see that s--t on her dashboard."

I figured. "That Emmett Till picture, right?"

"No. All the 'black stuff,' she called it. The petitions. The Black Panther pictures. That post on those four little girls who were killed in that church. The stuff about that Marcus Garvey guy. The one about those Black Panthers who were shot by the government."

"Fred Hampton and Bobby Hutton," I say.

"Yeah. Them."

WOW. How can someone call herself somebody's friend, and then negate their whole identity, of which their ethnicity is a part?! This is blatant racism! I KNEW I SMELLED A BIG RAT, back when Starr first mentioned that Hailey had unfollowed her Tumblr blog!

The funny thing about racists is that they will ADAMANTLY deny that they're racists. Like when I hear comments such as these from white people: "Just because I don't mingle with blacks doesn't mean I'm a racist. I don't mistreat them. I don't insult them. I just think that they should stay in their own neighborhoods. We have our place, and they have theirs. And I don't think you should "mongrelize" children, either. That's what happens when blacks and whites intermarry."

WOW. Hey, as the saying goes, "Denial is not a river in Egypt." The comment above is a composite of several racist comments I heard from our neighbors, as I was growing up. This type of thing is just SO ingrained in these people, they will NEVER stop thinking this way. I think, from the quote I provided above, that Hailey is one of these racists who think, "Hey, I'm not a racist. I have a BLACK friend! How could you EVEN accuse me of being a racist?!" This question is asked in an indignant tone. Such people are BLIND as to how racist they really are. And they DON'T want to have their eyes opened, either. You see, they're very COMFORTABLE in their racism. 

There's another great saying here: "My mind is made up. Don't confuse me with the facts." Racists are entirely close-minded. Why? Because prejudice is irrational. No amount of evidence and logic will make a die-hard racist change their twisted way of thinking. 

So my final verdict is: no, Hailey cannot be redeemed. Just as a die-hard alcoholic cannot be redeemed. As long as either a racist or an alcoholic continues to think that they don't have a problem, then they will NEVER change. Wanting to change has to come from within. 

The problem here is, if minorities and other oppressed groups sit around waiting for racists and people who think like them to change and treat them better, these minorities and other oppressed groups will remain mistreated forever. Therefore, activism is necessary. New, anti-discriminatory laws must be put in place. And this is what the great Martin Luther King, Jr. did. Although we still have a loooong way to go.....

Also, I don't think that Hailey and Starr will remain friends. Instead, Starr's friendship with Maya will grow stronger.   

Barb: So it seems now everyone is out to save DeVante. Do you feel they are acting out of guilt, and do you think that Starr will eventually leave Chris for DeVante? (And by the way, in the movie, Chris is played by the guy who plays Archie on Riverdale. I may have trouble accepting him as another character when I watch it).

Maria: Starr's dad, Maverick, definitely feels some responsibility for DeVante. He (Maverick) remembers how difficult it was to leave the King Lords, and he can see how scared DeVante is of their leader, King. I think Mav is doing the right thing by helping DeVante.

Once again, you've read my mind! When DeVante and Starr went out to play basketball at Rose Park, I started wondering if the author was going to have Starr fall for him. There was also a scene in her dad's grocery store, in which she was teaching DeVante the duties of his new job as a clerk at the store, where I started to ask myself this question, too. 

I don't know if I would want Starr to leave Chris. He is just SO sweet to her! Even though she's been hard on him, he hasn't reacted immaturely by ignoring her, or playing some sort of head game, in order to "get revenge".

Starr is already suffering enough, due to Khalil's murder. She doesn't need to take on DeVante's issues, too. On the other hand, DeVante is not really a bad guy. He wants to get out of the King Lords. And he actually asked Maverick for help in doing so. When Maverick offered him a job at the store, he accepted. So there's hope for him.

DeVante might be a better match for Starr than Chris, simply because, like her, he's grown up in Garden Heights, and sees the world the way Starr does. I don't know that Chris can thoroughly understand where Starr is coming from, how she thinks, just because she's African-American, and knows what it's like to live life in a racist world.

So I actually have mixed feelings about whether Starr should be dating Chris or DeVante. I like both guys. But on the other hand.... I'm not sure I like DeVante calling Starr "li'l momma". Was he being condescending? I'm wondering about that.....
Barb: So Mr. Lewis makes a point of calling out King and his gang on a live interview. Do you think this was smart or a complete lack of judgement?

Maria: OMG.... I thought that was absolutely the WRONG thing for Mr. Lewis to do! Not only did he risk his own life, but also, the King Lords are not the real problem. Gangs like them exist because of the complex set of circumstances that limit the progress of African-Americans living in "the hood". It's a whole chain of events. And it all starts with poor schools. Inner-city schools never have enough funds to function at quality levels. Kids are not given the tools necessary to better themselves. So a vicious cycle begins. That was why Starr's parents decided to send her to Williamson, the prep school all the way across town, in the white neighborhood. Unfortunately, Starr would not be getting a good education at a Garden Heights school.

Before gangs like the King Lords can be disbanded, social conditions must change. The vicious cycle of poor education and lack of opportunities must change. 

So Mr. Lewis's outburst was completely misguided. All he got from it was a heavy beating by the very people he exposed in a live TV interview. And he was lucky he wasn't killed!

Thanks for the GREAT questions, Barb!!  <3  :)

Blog visitors and regular readers, come on over to each of our blogs every Friday for the next few weeks, as we share our thoughts and insights on this highly-acclaimed novel! Thanks in advance for any comments you might wish to make!  :)

What do you all think?
Have we piqued your curiosity
about this book?
Be sure to let us know!
Don't forget to visit Barb's blog
to get her side of this "chat"!!


  1. I'm headed on the road for a meeting today and had to read your answers before leaving. We really are on the same wavelengths with some of our thoughts. Yes, Mr. Lewis did a pretty dangerous thing however, when things are bad in a neighborhood, sometimes you need someone to make a stand. In our town, drugs have become a real problem (as in other people) and there are times I would have done anything to make situations safe again. I actually had to stand up to a neighbor last year and get a protection order. It led to her being evicted so it helped, but it was a tad scary because of the people she hung out with.

    I still think I like Chris for Starr. You are right, DeVante is a tad condescending to her. However, I think he is learning a "new way" and is finding out that people do and can care about him so I'm anticipating some character growth from him in the next 2 weeks.

    As always, great answers!

    1. Hi, Barb!

      First of all, I apologize for the late reply.....:( As you know, some "real world stuff" has been preventing me from blogging as much as I usually do. I'm now trying to catch up....

      You know, in hindsight, I think that Mr. Lewis "snitching" on the King Lords was a kind of foreshadowing, because Starr is very conflicted about the possibility of speaking out, and knows she will eventually have to. So I now think that the author is using the Lewis interview to let us readers know that Starr will, indeed, speak out, in the very near future.

      Mr. Lewis was very brave! Poor guy, he did get a beating out of it. But you're right -- sometimes you just cannot remain silent.

      Since this is a late reply, I have read further in the book, and now I KNOW that Chris is the right guy for Starr! He's cute, charming, ADORES Starr, and, well, he's just an all-around GOOD guy!! They are indeed PERFECT together!!

      I have liked DeVante more and more, the more I've gotten to know him. And, although at first he did seem a little condescending to Starr, he has been changing, now that Maverick and Uncle Carlos have been helping him.

      Thanks for the compliment, as well as the interesting comment!!

      HUGS TO YOU AND THE PUPS, AND "WOOF, WOOF" TO THEM!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)

  2. Brilliant post. There are so many important issues addressed here. Obviously the book addresses them too. On the issue of racists being reformed. I think that it does happen with a lot of people over time. I have observed people over time change their attitude s slowly. I think that society is slowly improving so what I have observed may just be people going along with society.

    I am really looking forward to your future posts on this book.

    1. Hi, Brian!

      Still trying to catch up with my replies and comments back.... So I apologize for the late reply. :(

      Thanks for the compliment!! <3 <3

      This book is definitely a GREAT read! Although it's a YA novel, it deals with very adult themes, especially at this point in time. Well, this novel is Ms. Thomas's response to the unfortunately all-too-frequent incidents in which white cops have shot and killed African-Americans. It's also based on the Trayvon Martin case.

      I am not as optimistic as you regarding the situation of a racist changing their views. Racists tend to be very rigid and close-minded. But I'm saying this because I haven't seen any racists change over time. It sounds like you have, so I will have to accept your experience regarding this issue. :)

      On the other hand....the fact that Trump was elected, and continues to have the support of most Republicans, is proof that racism is alive and well in this country. I have read about several racist incidents online, such as one in California, in which two young women, both U.S. citizens but of Mexican descent, who were asked by a waiter to prove that they were "from here" before he would serve them....

      Let's hope that we can get a new president in the next election!

      Thanks for the GREAT comment!! Hope you have a GREAT week!! <3 :)

  3. Oh, dear, so hard for me to avoid spoilers here! I read the book quite a while back, and I have to say, you two are amazing to be able to read a bit and stop to discuss it instead of devouring the lot.

    I want to reread it before the film starts here.

    1. Hi, Sue!

      So sorry for the late reply..... :( Still trying to catch up with all of my comments and replies....

      To be honest, it wasn't easy to refrain from reading ahead. But, we've both already finished the book! As you know, since you've read it yourself, it's totally RIVETING!

      I think it's a good idea for you to re-read this book before you watch the film. In my case, I'm not sure that I will, indeed, watch it. It was hard enough, emotionally, for me to read this story.

      Thanks for the nice comment!! <3 :)

  4. A brilliant post, Maria - I don't think this book would be for me, but I was fascinated to read your article about your thoughts and reactions:)). Have a great week!

    1. Hi, Sarah!

      First off, so sorry for the late reply....:( I'm STILL trying to catch up with all of my replies and comments back.

      I had the same thoughts at first -- that this book wouldn't be for me. And it was actually a difficult read for me. However, I did feel it was important to read it, because, unfortunately, it's very relevant to the current situation here in the States.... It is a VERY powerful book, and I don't know if I'll be able to watch the film, as I'm a VERY sensitive person.

      Thanks so much for the compliment!! Hope you have a great week, too!! HUGS!!! <3 <3 <3 :) :) :)


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