By Ella Van Niel

Although The Hate U Give was written in 2017, it is still the best book to describe the political climate of 2018. It’s the story of Starr, a teenager who witnesses her black friend get shot to death by a white policeman. After the shooting, Starr is torn between fighting for what she sees as the unjust death of her friend and keeping a low profile in order to protect herself and her family. She faces threats from the gang leader in her poor, mostly black neighborhood, and racism from people at her prestigious, mostly white school. Starr’s story is super relevant because it shows the challenges that people of racial minorities continue to go through everyday, despite there being heightened awareness of police brutality towards and systematic oppression of black people.

This book does a good job of depicting a demographic that doesn’t get talked about enough– and in a funny, engaging, heartwarming way. The characters are lovable and diverse, the writing flows well, and the plot will have you on the edge of your seat. The book is full of drama. There are so many twists and turns as Starr begins to feel the pressure from her boyfriend, friends, family, and her enemies. However, what makes this book so good is that everything that happens in the book could happen in real life. We might not want to admit that so much tragedy could happen to one person, but it does. Unarmed black teenagers do get shot, black kids do get forced into selling drugs, and there are consequences. That’s why this book is so important to read, especially at the end of 2018. It exposes circumstances that many people try to ignore.

I think that this book is especially important for HB students to read. A large percentage of students here are rich and white, and have not been exposed to perspectives besides their own. So please read this book. It’s funny and heartfelt but also really moving. It shows the constant struggle between being loyal to your roots and making a better life for yourself. It shows a true picture of life as an African American. And most of all, it’s just a really good book.