I always find YA literature a bit difficult to review due to the fact that a good number of them have a blueprint. In some ways The Hate U Give suffers from these problems BUT it manages to be different (at least for me)
THUG focuses on Starr Carter, who watches her closest friend get shot by a white police officer. To complicate matters Starr lives in a ghetto, attends a school populated by student’s who are white, dates a white boy, shares a brother with her best friend, has an uncle who is a policeman and a father who does not like white people. To create more complications there’s a lot of gang wars happening in the background.
So yes, THUG is a book that takes a look at gang culture and racial prejudice and, for me, I found then eye opening. Honestly, this was new to me and it felt like I was reading something different.
However despite the socially aware plots the book suffers from the usual things which I don’t like in YA. The dialogue is stereotypical – the kind you hear in teen programs. There are some scenes that made me cringe, such as the white boyfriend rapping the theme to the fresh prince of bel-air at a prom and way too many pop culture references, I don’t think in 20 years time people will know what the nae nae is (maybe I am wrong though)
Despite these flaws THUG is a good read. I spent the best part of three days hooked on the situations the characters faced and I did appreciate that the ending does not fall into the usual cliches. In fact it hammers the main point of the book: things may change but they will take time.
Personally the sign of a good YA book is when it can transcend the desired audience. With THUG, it just misses the mark by a tiny bit but if you do want a snapshot of ghettolife, I think this is a good place to start.