“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?
Ever since I saw this beautiful minimalistic cover at Costco, I knew I had to read it and I’m so glad I finally got the chance to.
Dumplin’ is about a girl named Willow who’s fat, obese, overweight, whatever you want to call it. And she knows, and she’s come to terms with it. She’s never had a problem with it… until she meets Bo, the star football player. Desperate to get her “spunk” back, Willow joins a beauty pageant, shocking just about everyone around…
I loved this book so so much and found myself laughing throughout because Willow’s charisma and humour just really made it relatable. A toxic body image is something that’s enforced upon us every time we go on social media, read a magazine or see a poster up in the mall. It’s a very prominent problem in our world that needs to be talked about. This book was an amazing and inspirational story that made my heart sing (ok maybe that’s an exaggeration but you get the point) and gave me a lot of hope and confidence.
My final rating is an 8.5/10 because I feel like the “wanting to change for a guy” is quite downgrading in my book but the fact that Willow overcomes that is an amazing feat to me. Would definitely recommend!
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
So here’s the thing… I didn’t enjoy this book very much. I’d heard of it of course and I was so excited to try it but then it just fell very short.
What I like in a book is something that will hit me emotionally and then leave me reeling for days after I finish. I’d thought I would get that for sure from this story, given the overall talk surrounding it and the fact that it covers many controversial topics. However, this book actually took me very long to finish because it didn’t intrigue me or impact me much at all. Now, before you guys come for me saying that maybe the story isn’t meant to be intense and fast-paced, that maybe it’s supposed to be a detailed and accurate representation of the side of society that isn’t talked about, even if that gives it a slower storyline, I want you to know that I get it. I know that the message this story spreads is heard by many and that is no doubt one of the key factors to its success and popularity in the book-world; but when I’m rating it as a piece of writing, as a piece of literature, I can’t say I loved it.
Hey! I recently (re)read the novel Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and I do have some strong opinions on it that I would like to share.
To start off, this novel is about a girl named Melinda Sordino. Throughout this book, she fights to overcome her depression due to something aching that happened to her at a summer party. She goes back to school in September with no friends, along with multiple glares from strangers. She decides that speaking will only hurt her, slipping into a state of depression.
This book truly meant a lot to me. The first time I read this book was in 2018 and it taught me a lot about standing up for myself when times get hard. When we are told to stand up for ourselves, we agree and stop thinking about it the day after. When we have to take action and stand up for ourselves, we tend to become a coward. I know that not all of us can relate to this, but there has to be someone out there who’s too shy, or too afraid to go out and stand up to everyone who has hurt them in the past.
Black Enough edited by Ibi Zoboi
Powerful, unique, and true. Black Enough is written by many different authors, and edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi.
There can’t really be a synopsis about this book, because it comprises of 17 short stories about what it is like being young and black in America. The stories are diverse, powerful, and brutally honest. Some are full of light banter, but others are heavy and emotional. Some of my favourites were Half A Moon by Renée Watson, Warning: Color May Fade by Leah Henderson, The Ingredients by Jason Reynolds, Whoa! by Rita Williams-Garcia, Gravity by Tracey Baptiste and Hackathon Summers by Coe Booth. I found something special in all of the stories, though, and Black Enough was a beautiful read.
Because the stories were short, it was a relatively light read, and I give this book a 9/10. The only thing that slightly bothered me was that after every story, I had to adjust to the next story’s setting and characters faster than I would have to if I were starting a new novel. That can’t really be fixed, but if you have a tendency to dive deep into a story and immerse yourself in it, (like me) you’ll need to take a break between each short story. Nevertheless, I think Black Enough is an important collection of stories that everyone should read.