Starr Carter, the narrator and witness to the murder of her friend in a police shooting, provides the questions and clarity of youth to a story that so many people of all ages are struggling with. "What side of ourselves do we present to a stranger?" and "How do we keep ourselves safe?" are universal questions. Starr asks those questions everyday and adds race into the equation, trying to make sure she is in control and never gives anyone a reason to doubt her. Her journey to reconcile justice, with the weight of racial prejudice, is a battle to have the truth heard. Starr is a character that has to find the bravery to stand against racism on large and small scales.
The Hate U Give is a must read for all ages. Published in 2017, its relevance and power have, unfortunately, only grown since then. Angie Thomas has grounded and expertly explored the flesh and blood issue of the death of POC, especially black men, at the hands of police officers. Thomas, like Starr does at the end of the book, uses her voice as her weapon and hits hard. I as a privileged white female, felt the punches and the patience that Thomas had to give.
No matter your age or race, in 2020 I hope if our nonfiction reality hasn't moved you to find your bravery to stand up, this book is a great place to start.