Earlier this year I read and reviewed Dear Martin. The other book along the same thematic lines was The Hate U Give (or THUG… and yes, the acronym is intentional and explained in the book). Both of these books touch on several topics facing our world today: racism, police brutality, white privilege, and being a teenager in a divided society, just to name a few. DM and THUG are two sides of the same coin, honestly. Both characters witness an event that changes them forever, both go to a predominantly white private school to get the best education they can, and both leave part of themselves at home while in the school. One main difference between Starr (in THUG) and Justyce (in DM) is their home lives. Starr lives with her still married hard working mother and father. Justyce doesn’t have much support at home and has to find it elsewhere.
I really can’t emphasize how important these books are. I apologize to keep lumping them together, but you really can’t go wrong reading either one. THUG is longer and more detailed, giving more depth to some characters. The author, Angie Thomas, does an excellent job creating Starr’s world in an authentic and realistic way. I usually think pop culture references can date a book, but in books like this, it is an important way to get readers in Starr’s mind and world. Starr loves the NBA, The Fresh Prince Bel-Air, dances the latest dances (which I have no idea what they are……I’m so out of touch, LOL), and uses modern slang (I did have to look a couple up on urban dictionary). In other words, Starr is today. She relevant. She is authentic. She is real. And, more importantly, her experiences are real.
I’m so glad these amazing women, Nic Stone and Angie Thomas, wrote these books. They are, of course, getting banned and backlash, because they are SO TRUE. Some people just can’t face the world we actually live in and want to bury their heads in the sand and pretend that everything is fine. Which is why we must be reading these books. And authors must keep writing them. Thank you for your voices, ladies. I’m so thankful for them and for you.