“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” – Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is genuinely one of the most influential novels speaking out against racism written in our time. Especially now, in the times of people using their voice to campaign for what’s right, this book brings a whole new light to the controversial issues that have existed for generations.
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this novel is about a sixteen-year-old girl named Starr Carter who lives in two different worlds- a poor neighbourhood where she lives, and a fancy prep school she attends. Starr navigates through many feelings of grief after seeing her childhood best friend, Khalil, murdered by the police. When his death makes national headlines, Starr faces a choice that can change the entire community that surrounds her- does she defend her friend when confronted by a horrendous amount of outside pressures?
Quick Spoiler-FREE Summary: Frank Li is a senior in high school. Like many Korean-Americans, his parents have rather traditional beliefs. So, when he discovers that he really likes a girl, he’s forced to date her in secret all because she’s white. His close family friend also has the same problem so together, they decide to “fake-date” each other for their parents’ sake. Don’t worry, this story is a lot more than fake dating schemes so read on for my thoughts!
Where do I even start? I loved this coming-of-age novel so much I don’t think I can even describe how much I related to it. Being of Asian descent as well, I felt Frank’s pressure from his parents’ expectations, I felt his need to do well, his helplessness as he tried to sway his parents from their false beliefs and his wanting to freely say the words “I love you” to his parents without getting weird looks. My parents aren’t racist, but they do have many beliefs that are old-fashioned and it’s very difficult to say I love you to them not because I don’t, just because it’s not something we say often at all. This book is far from a light romance. It was very touching and there were so many parts that really hit my heart. It shocked me how much I found bits of myself in this book. Towards the end, I was sobbing so hard, I could barely read past my tears. My little brother literally told my mom about me crying, that’s how bad it was. I would recommend this book to absolutely everyone and anyone, it doesn’t matter your age, gender or race, this is the book for you. Full 10/10 stars because frankly, I’m in love with Frank Li.