“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments when you shouldn’t be?”

thehateugiveBooks on Tap read and discussed the CvilleOneBook title The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas on Thursday, October 4 at Champion Brewery. The award-winning young adult novel is being read and discussed in local schools this fall thanks to a specially printed edition of the book funded by community donations and the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation.

There was a lot to unpack with this book and the discussion was lively and lengthy. The plot revolves around 16-year-old Starr Carter who witnesses a police-involved fatal shooting of her friend and the subsequent impact on her, her family and her community.

While the book dealt with many difficult issues, everyone in the group gave it positive reviews for how the subjects were handled. Themes include stereotyping and racism, activism, bravery, family and community. The characters make historic references to Emmett Till, The Black Panthers, Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Tupac Shakur (title reference/Thug Life), Dr. Martin Luther King and mention very recent victims of police brutality.

One reader said that her church discussion group found the language in the book offensive. The Books on Tap group felt that the book would not seem authentic if the author had cleaned up all the language. Who is the book meant to appeal to? Teens.

The group also discussed the extent of code-switching that Starr and many THUG characters go through in order to fit in. Many of us also do the same, but to a generally lesser degree and the group discussed a few personal examples.

We briefly discussed the importance of reading diverse books to get exposure to other people’s worlds and build understanding and a sense of community. The characters and the issues in THUG are deftly portrayed to make the book appealing, not defensive.

Awards:
National Book Award Longlist
Michael L. Printz Honor Book
Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominee (Mystery Writers of America)
Coretta Scott King Honor (Author)
Boston Globe-Horn Book Award
William C. Morris Award

Other books mentioned:
Between the World & Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel

More information:
Upcoming movie (release date 10/19)
Controversy around THUG as required reading

Reviews:
The Atlantic
Huffington Post

At the November 1 meeting, the group will choose titles to discuss January-May 2019.

Have a suggestion for future titles? Add them to this list.

Previous titles

About JMRL Central Reference

Librarians in the reference department at the Central Library of JMRL.

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