One day when this book is more than two weeks old, when bookstores haven’t sold out of every copy and libraries don’t have months-long waiting lists—or at least when I know more than five people who have gotten to read it—I’ll write a longer spoiler-filled post about some of the many, many reasons to love it.
In the meantime, please enjoy the exceptionally beautiful cover; I’ll let you discover for yourselves how the art continues on the back. As for what’s inside:
In theater, there’s this quality an actor can show in a role that’s sometimes referred to as ease. It’s sort of like poise. It means that the hard work the person is doing disappears into the background, so that what you see as an audience member is the character, their struggles and triumphs, rather than the struggle of the actor themselves to put forth an emotion or idea. It’s the difference between an award-winning movie where you’re marveling at the Acting with a capital A the whole time, and an award-winning movie where yeah, sure, people are probably acting, but shh, stop talking about that, I want to see what happens next.
With The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas embodies the analogous quality in writing. The book is beautifully composed; there are brilliant turns of phrase and astute observations right and left. And still the writing consistently draws attention to the story, not to itself. When Starr, our narrator, makes us think or cry or laugh, we see and hear her without being distracted by a separate authorial voice. The Hate U Give isn’t something I’d characterize as an easy book; it’s long, layered, and ambitious in scope, with nuanced characters and a deeply compassionate skepticism for all-or-nothing views of American society. But there is a sense of ease to the way the story is told, a sense of poise and assurance, that means that even with our hearts in our throats, we never once have to doubt that we’re in good hands.