Tag Archives: america

Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I’ve seen so many articles, tweets, Tumblr posts about acts of police brutality against African Americans in the US, I’ve lost count of the amount of names I’ve seen listed. It’s upsetting. It’s horrible. It shouldn’t be happening. And it’s difficult to raise awareness about it, beyond sharing something on social media – so I really want to share this book as widely as I can.

Published 6th April 2017 by Walker Books UK. 

32613366Goodreads Synopsis: Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.


My Review: I was so eager to read this, from the minute I learned what it was about. The Hate U Give is focused on Starr, a girl my age, who is in the car with her childhood friend when he’s killed by a police officer who had no reason at all to shoot. Grieving Starr is thrown into the most difficult situation, where she has to decide whether to stay silent or to speak out, even if it puts her life at risk.

What happens to Starr’s friend, Khalil, is frighteningly similar to so many deaths I’ve read about – and it’s frightening to think that this happens regularly. It really opened my eyes to the situation of prejudice and racism in America, as before I was aware but not aware enough, as most people sadly are.

The story is heartbreaking, and might be difficult for some to read as it touches on so many relevant themes today – but that’s why this book has to be read. It’s unflinchingly powerful and brave.

The narrative is compelling, and I grew to really love Starr throughout the novel – it’s told in her very realistic voice. She’s torn between what to do, because remaining silent about what she witnessed and raising her voice. She’s also torn between two different ‘lives’ she’s living: her hometown and the mostly-white populated private school she attends. Starr lives with so much internal conflict, and I really empathised with her because I can imagine so many people are in the same situations.

I became really attached to Starr’s family, and Thomas writes so much detail into each character that I can’t stop thinking about them. Starr’s father is one particularly well developed, unforgettable character – an ex-convict who found his way out of gang culture, determined to protect his children and also build up his life with the store he now owns. There’s something about all of the characters that’s incredibly inspiring – their stories stay with you for a long time.

The best thing about The Hate U Give is how unapologetic and real it is. I’m really excited to see how it translates into a visual story, too! The movie rights have been sold, with Amandla Stenberg to star – which is the most incredible news. I really hope this book, and a movie in the future, helps to raise awareness. Not only is this a captivating story – it’s a powerful and unforgettable message about an ongoing issue.

Overall, I obviously recommend The Hate U Give to everyone, especially if you’re not very informed on current events in America and the Black Lives Matter Movement. It’s the most memorable and moving book you’ll read this year.

My Rating:

four and a half

I received a copy of The Hate U Give from the publisher, via Lovereading4kids, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Book Review: American Savage by Matt Whyman

You can read my review of book one, The Savages, by clicking here!

Published June 5th 2014 by Hot Key Books.

19383531Goodreads Synopsis: Vegan, veggie, carnivore… humanitarian? Welcome to the top of the food chain.

The Savages are back – this time in a country where servings come supersized. Titus, Angelica and the kids go to great lengths to fit into their new lives in sunny Florida. But that’s not easy when their appetite runs to feasts of human flesh.

In this dark comic serving of everyday family life with contemporary cannibals, the Savages seek to hide in plain sight by setting up a vegan café. But when the venture turns out to be a surprise sensation, and bad apples bob to the surface, Titus is forced to question whether the family have finally bitten off more than they can chew.

My Review: American Savage was a really great sequel- I devoured it in two sittings! I really loved The Savages when I had the chance to read it last year; it was a darkly hilarious story of a family of cannibals and various obstacles like vegetarian boyfriends. I couldn’t wait to read more about the family in this instalment; strangely, despite their… tastes… you grow to love them.

The plot was really great. American Savage sees the Savage family, plus adopted-into-the-family Amanda, moving to America for a change in lifestyle and to avoid arousing any more suspicion in their home country. The family sets up a vegan café; half to cover up any suspicious activity around the neighbourhood caused by them, and half because of a drama caused by Titus Savage and Amanda’s job. The plot kinda terrified me and made me laugh at the same time. It was really weird, seeing the family growing up, and dealing with different issues than had arisen in the first book. But I loved it! There’s a different story for every character, and they link together in clever and unpredictable ways.

The theme for the book is pretty dark and macabre, as it was in book one. But, Matt Whyman manages to keep the story feeling like an upbeat, funny, contemporary drama… except, there’s definitely a higher body count in this book compared to other YA contemps… 😀 Whyman’s writing is really enjoyable. It did take me a couple of pages to get stuck into the story, but after that, I couldn’t stop reading.

There was one thing that kind of disappointed me. In the first book, the most relatable character for me was Sasha- the teenage girl of the family who most of the story was centered around. However, she wasn’t actually in this story- instead she was in another American state studying. I really wish she was in the story, at least for a few pages! She’d been one of my favourite characters. I did get used to the family without her… but the ending, which was a bit heartbreaking, I wish she’d been there for. For reasons. But I can’t say why because I’ll spoil it…

Overall, aside from one part, I really did enjoy American Savage! I wasn’t sure how I’d find the sequel, as the first book was brilliant as a standalone… but this was awesome. It’s a mixture of macabre family tradition, romance, cover-up family business and American lifestyle… Sounds bizarre, but Matt Whyman makes it work. All of the characters are so well fleshed out and each one felt realistic and individual. I really, really highly recommend both The Savages and American Savage, whether you’re more of a contemporary fan or a fan of the macabre. Matt Whyman’s writing is really memorable and I can’t wait to read even more from him!

My Rating:

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 I received a copy of American Savage from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.