The Hate U Give (THUG) by Angie Thomas
Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406372151
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Navigating between life as the only person of colour (POC) at a prestigious prep school in the suburbs, and being the only kid in the projects who can afford to go to such a school, Starr Carter doesn't know who she is. The careful balancing act falls apart when Starr witnesses her childhood best friend shot dead at the hands of a police officer during a routine traffic stop. Starr is forced to be the voice of change at a time when she's not sure if she's better off being silent.
The Hate U Give draws on stories most are already familiar with: Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, the list unfortunately goes on. Author Angie Thomas has managed to weave elements of these tragedies throughout the story without disrespecting the communities or persons involved. Readers follow Starr's heartbreaking journey but are constantly reminded that this is the everyday life for POC throughout America. With an emphasis on police brutality and the after-effects, the community coming together while being simultaneously pulled apart, we learn chilling lessons that for some are learned much younger.
If you encounter a police officer, be polite. Even if they're not. Do not make any sudden movements. Keep your hands up. Remain calm.
The Hate U Give is political without trying to be, and readers will be holding on to the edge of their seats as they follow along with Starr. Whether it's friendship, race, or feeling like you don't quite belong, there's something for everyone.