280:The Hate U Give

32075671

Synopsis

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

The Good

I have a lot of thoughts which makes me wish that I would have done a readalong for it. I  wish someone else did one too but I think I understand (possibly/more than likely) why. I believe many people did not do a readalong for it because  there are so many touchy subjects in this book. Anyway, on to what I liked about this book…

  • Not white centered: One of my fears was that it was going to be for white people thus watered down/sanitized. My fear came from many other y.a. novels with black main characters that I have read who go to a boarding school or a school that is majority white/mixed racially (which many people see as the dream for interracial harmony but do not talk about the reality of what assimilation has meant for poc in general). My fears were mostly unfounded because Starr was not cut off from the black community.
  • It is set in modern black lives matter world through the eyes of a black girl: black lives matter and police brutality is not all new all different it is a thing in this world.
  • So much black culture is shown: it made me think about how much I do not hear books talk about black culture.
  • Shows the trauma that comes with being involved with police brutality: seeing friend be murdered and people’s reactions to it
  • Allowing Starr to grieve and not fall into the strong black woman trope. Her trauma does not go away after five minutes. Also, she does not just have bad days of her being sad.
  • Bringing police brutality and all the issues in T.H.U.G to a young adult novel-thus a young audience. By putting everything into a young adult novel it can reach a wider audience than a literary novel.
  • Cuts all ties that would lead to respectability politics
  • Poc solidarity
  • White feminism: I mean you can have entire middle grade books about white feminism casually but it is something else to have one about racism
  • Intraracial black issues
  • Reality of interracial relationships: I don’t know how I feel about Chris and Starr relationship. For a long time the only thing we see Chris partaking in is black culture like making references to Fresh Prince of Belaire but at the same not knowing that much about police brutality (appreciation vs appropriation). It annoys me because going along the points above people think that the work of solving racism is just putting poc and white people together. His ignorance/naiveté got on my nerves at many points but he is not terrible like Hailey but still… They are in high school too so growth can come later. Then characters in THUG said he ain’t white he light skinned, nah. Nah!
  • Moral ambiguity to black characters: they are not one dimensional tropes.
  • Stay in hood vs suburbia: suburbia≠utopia
  • White privilege
  • and so so so much more

Emotionally it was an enjoyable book to read.

The Meh

Police are given nuance with Uncle Carlos- which I get but at the same time it is annoying that black people have to go not all cops when talking about police brutality.

The story lightly treads some things that it could go harder on (but also I know it could not be everything, do everything, and hit everything)

The Bad

Do I think it wants to jampack every issue in one book? I can’t get mad because this info all of it, the entire book needs to get out to everyone who can read it.  Nonetheless, there are moments put in the book that felt unnatural/inorganic to the story.

The story wrapped up some things in a way that was too neat and convenient.

Ending Thoughts

I really enjoyed this book a lot. I just would love to see more critique about it (that is not obvious/blatant/just plain anti-black racism because there is a lot of those on goodreads). I am enjoying all the love that her book is getting and cannot wait for her next novel.

Here is a critique of the book that is notable: http://blacknerdproblems.com/the-hate-u-give-blm-gets-the-novel-treatment/

Allegedly Readalong: Chapters 17-18

30037870

Pre-reading Thoughts Before Final Chapters:

I get that there are no easy answers so it makes sense if the ending is open but I will probably not like it. Again, this I do not feel like talking thing with Mary is old on page 200/218.

Chapter 17

I can see they are trying make Mary’s mom three dimensional but eh.

Q: So Mary brother died of natural causes or what? And is that what made her mom become who she is today?

Q: How believable is Mary (as a nine year old) keeping the cross and burying it all without prints?

Like she knew she would have to testify now. Unrealistic! Also, you could have had this ready 50 pages ago when you first met the lawyers.

Q: So the whole Dr. Cross meeting was dropped or what?

Chapter 18

Okay, Dr. Cross meeting came through. Mom and daughter thing is annoying!

Q: Why is Mary changing her story now? Weak!

Ending (Initial reaction):

It feels like an unpolished mess in ways. She either (or both) could not commit to one true ending and/or could not create a future for Mary because “realism”.

Q: So all of this was a plot to be the perfect daughter for white people? So did she kill Alyssa or not?

Ending (after a couple of days and further thought. since I finished the book before I could finish doing these posts week by week I had the time to actually go over what I wrote while drafting them. It has given me greater perspective.)

I think that the ending makes sense now but I still do not like it.The story did build up the idealization Mary has of Alyssa and her family. In the earlier chapters I did actually find it weird how Mary was acting.

I was ranting to my brother afterwards saying having the main character hold something back from the reader is one of the things you just do  not do in a first person narrative. It is probably one of the rules of writing to not do (especially in the mystery genre).

Q: Do you think the story left itself open for a sequel?

Yes! There are so many unanswered questions left behind. The only thing she would have to deal with is this whole Mary doing this for this idealized image of Alyssa family. Basically, making it where Mary is guilty.

I am definitely going to do a review that talks that collects all (or most of) my thoughts on the book after having some time to think about the book as a whole.

Allegedly Readalong: Chapters 13-16

30037870

Chapter 13

I forgot about Alyssa father. We are going to see more of outside reactions now (also, misogynoir). I guess it is good for her to make strides without Ted.

Chapter 14

I told you new girl is a psychopath.

Q: Why is Dr. Cross so creepy? Is she lying about files she has on Mary? How does Mary know her?

I think she met Mary as a child way before Mary could remember and will serve to fill gaps in Marys past. I do not think she is lying about the files she has on Mary. If anything the files “conveniently” disappeared some other way since everyone hates Mary.

Chapter 15

So sick of Mary hoarding secrets so the plot can continue!

I do not know how I feel about new girl turning into a villain.

Q: Can you get into school with a big criminal record?

I get running away thing but this plan seems (sounds) good on paper but not actually  good. I do not know if I completely feel either plan (Ted vs Lawyer). Long term if she wants to be a teacher or almost any professional profession she needs to be exonerated.

Chapter 16

Q: Are we ever gonna find out  who Mary real parents are?

Please Ms. Richardson do not adopt Mary baby!

Mary is being real dumb about meeting Ms. Richardson thing. I get that it may have had to happen for plot reasons but ugh.

Overall

We had a lot of “realistic” conclusions- Ted having to be distant.

I feel I am going to be disappointed with the ending since it is more than likely going to be open ended. It will not solve anything thus making Allegedly a contemporary and not a mystery.

Personally, I wanted them to get more into the actual court proceedings. If they don’t drop this bomb with mom (that mary has been hoarding from reader even though this is first person story) it will probably get a star knocked off.

Allegedly Readalong: Chapters 9-12

30037870

Chapter 9

Q: Does new girl have a plot with lawyers and/or Kelly? Did Kelly do crimes on purpose?

I think she did it on purpose.

Questions Marys mental stability.

Interesting that Mary is friends with the white (innocent) girl. Again, thinks about the questionable race stuff in this book.

Chapter 10

I feel like the lawyer is exploiting Mary.

(We finally get the events of what happened with Alyssa according to Mary)

Q: So what was all this about Mary blacking out? The story and some of what we read do not match.

File:Broken Heart symbol.svg

Ted has a point! Remember he has no experience and a record of doing the horrible crime he has done. It is real that he would get involved into some shady stuff to have somewhere to stay.

Q: Did Ted low key say he is a pimp?

Chapter 11

Word of the day: Exploitation

Mary is not getting any money for anything that profited off of her. If Allegedly says anything it says something about the exploitation that happens on these murder cases.

I do not like Alyssa mom (I get it and all). Nonetheless, I do not like Alyssa mom. So she thought Mary did not do it but she still carried on letting Mary go to jail. She really made me mad.

Chapter 12

The reality is that even if she is found not guilty people could still not believe her. Mary could still deal with condemnation especially since she is a black girl.

All these people do not care about her. The only people she had in her life have left her in the cold. Her mom let her take fall for a crime she did not commit. Alyssa mom just let her take fall even though in her heart she felt she did no do it. It made me feel like so any black woman/girl would do.

Mary very much mythicizes Alyssa mom and white people in general- dad is white savior, Alyssa mom is greatest mom ever.

What I do not think we are going to get answers to:

  1. Who is Mary father?
  2. What did the other girls do?
  3. Does her father know about her?
  4. Does her mom even know who her father is?

What we have left to cover in book:

  • trial
  • all reveals/reactions of people

Q: Do you think the portrayal of mental illness is done well? A lot of books use it for short hand=criminal.

The story overall has been a mix of hopefulness with dose of  “realism”.

Allegedly Readalong: Chapters 5-8

30037870

Chapter 5

Q: Why did Mary’s mom kill Alyssa?

I want to know more into Alyssa’s family.

Q: What did Alyssa mom see?

Q: What does “I didn’t mean to throw her” mean?

Q: How is stirring things back up going to go?

Chapter 6

We get a bit of the public view  of Mary’s “alleged” crime. There were activists and stuff which felt current.

Q: What is life like for a famous killer after serving their time in real world?

Alyssa was bruised before death according to mom.

I like the idea of Mary getting someone beyond Ted.

Commentary on Push (or Precious) by Sapphire was interesting. Push has been such a controversial book for its representation of black women (and black men).

Mary has an anger inside her. It makes sense seeing everything she has gone through but you know it is one of those red herring she may have done it moments.

Chapter 7

Showing actual  psychopathic killer which matters because they do exist in foster care systems too. The scary thing is that they are there alongside the non-psychotic killers.

Q: Is the girl trying to kill Mary dark skin? That is questionable since Mary is light skin (possibly biracial). It feels like all the white/light skin people so far are good while the poc/dark skin characters are bad/against Mary.

Q: So what did Kelly “new girl” do?

Chapter 8

Q: What is Alyssa and Mary relationship again? The way Mary talks they had more than an acquaintance relationship.

Doubt (for me ) is casted on Alyssa mom from this chapter. Think about it all we know from Alyssa mom point of view is from second person information so Alyssa death could have been a set up (between Alyssa’s mom and Mary’s mom).

There is still reasonable doubt if Mary still did it or severity of what she did. She blacked out and the story is still side stepping what happened that night.

I like the idea of restorative justice more than just throwing people in jail.

Q: Are the lawyers exploiting or not?

Beautiful landscape lake - Public Domain Picture
Ted+Mary

 

Q: Does Ted have the right to explain? What could have happened?

(I have a theory but I will keep it for now.)

Q: Who is Mary father? We learn that he is n/a on the birth certificate so either Marys mom does not know or she just did not put it on there.

50% Feelings:

Pros: naturally brings up race in a way that black people would bring it up

Cons: Allegedly has q

uestionable things in terms of certain things (such as colorism). Lack of transitions can be annoying and confusing (I cannot tell if it is because it is an ebook)

Randomish Thoughts:

I wonder if Mary being isolated is about being a self-insert /more relatable to teens (middle to upper class teens) than a more hardened (by system/world) kid.

Allegedly Readalong: Chapter 1-4 (Spoilers)

I enjoyed doing the chapter feelings and questions for Allegedly so much that I wanted to continue doing them.

Disclaimer:  so much happens in each chapter that I will either forget or not have the time to cover. It will simply be the most pressing thoughts and questions I have while reading each chapter.

30037870

Chapter 1

I already did a reaction to chapter one here.

Chapter 2

Q: Has a child ever gotten the death sentence?

A: Yes, according to the Death Penalty Information Center 22 inmates in modern era (since 1976 the reinstatement of death penalty) under 18 got the death penalty prior to the 2005 case of Roper v. Simmons which ruled death penalty for those under 18 unconstitutional. Kind of morbid but yeah.

Q: Does a child deserve death?

Mary story makes me think about how much you can blame on a child. I do not think this will be the novel to deal with a heavy question like this, honestly.

Q: What time period is this book supposed to be in? It mentions 106 & Park and Trey Songz.

A: It is of course contemporary so current day. I give Tiffany Jackson major points for using AAVE in a way that does not feel per formative.

Q: How old is Ted? Their relationship is so dubious. I expect the worst because that is what usually happens.

Q: How did the baby (Alyssa) die?

A: We learned that she was 12 weeks= two years old. She died by strangulation and with a lot of bruises on her body.

There are little comments still like Mary saying she did not mean to throw Alyssa that alludes to even more to the story.

Q: What is the difference between baby jail and juvie?

A: Basically, she was in real jail but as a 9 year old.

Answering this one question brings up so many other questions. Q: How savvier was Alyssa death that they felt warranted Mary being put in adult jail?

Q: Who is Ted? Boyfriend? Sexy friend? He has to be intimate to have seen her not only naked but for it to bother her.

A: He is her boyfriend who is studying to be an electrician and out of juvie six months for a crime he has not told her about yet. She has not told him about her crime either which she needs to hurry upon since she is famous for her crime.  Alternate theory- Ted is a rich/middle class dude pretending to be poor.

“I have to fall in the ninety-eight percentile, 200 points less than perfect.”- said by Mary.

This puts intelligence into not equaling “evil” or being so special that it negates bad doings. Which is not a good thing seeing as most, if not all, sociopaths/psychopaths are highly intelligent.  If anything this book emphasizes more the flaws in our justice system.

Oh gosh she is pregnant!

Chapter 3

Q: What is the timeline of the crime?

The weirdness of how Alyssa- the baby was found (lying face down). I do not know if that means something.

Q: Are they going to keep the baby? What’s going on with Ted? Will their relationship survive all the secrets?

Q: “Where the hell am I going to live with a baby? The group home?” actual questions from Mary that need to be asked/answered if Mary wants to keep her baby.

I was sad that everyone is against her keeping her baby but I get it from their viewpoint she killed a baby.

Answered Questions:

Q: How old is Ted? Questionable-ness of Ted and Mayra relationship (he is 18 and she is 15 which is the age of a lot of teen relationships).

I don’t necessarily like the I’m smart and everyone else is dumb and the implications that come with it- they deserve this or I deserve everything less than they do because of their intelligence.

I knew it! Alyssa straight up says mom I did the plan (aka lied and said I did it) so can you stop pretending so I can be able to take care of my baby. Her mom acted like she did not know what anything was about.

Q: Is her mom a psychopath? Or has she (mom) deluded herself that she didn’t do it? It seems like a good plan to let child take blame since less jail time it would seem  teens get. Many TV shows/movies/everything not reality use this very plot. We see that this theory is untrue since Mary has taken on a lot- she went to adult jail (confined by herself), group home (and all that come with that), and has lost so many rights (job really want to do, childhood, etc). Her mom doing this is so selfish. Thinking further she (Marys’ mom) probably would have had things worse/really bad thinking about people reaction Mary with the death (they see as a black girl killing a white baby). Her mom is an adult black woman she may have gotten the death penalty no questions asked or redemption accessible.

Q: Did her mom kill baby on purpose? Or accidentally?

Q: Is our main character unreliable narrator?

This big reveal gutted and excited me at the same time. RIP Herbert. I feel his death represents something deeper that I am missing.

Chapter 4

[http://www.patienthelp.org/pregnancy/8-weeks-pregnant.html]

Theory: Mary’s mom is not actually her mom and kidnapped her. Did she (Marys’ mom) kill Mary’s brother?

Well, Ted crimes worse than I thought :\. I give Tiffany Jackson props for his crime actually warranting him wanting to keep it a secret. Other stories would have give him a nice cute crime society has prettified up like stealing.  Also, this is what happens when you have a no questions relationship. Well, I mean even an everything on table “normal” relationship this would more than likely not come out because it is bad.

Q: Is he downplaying his part in the rape?

He said he had nothing to do with it but yeah. I really hope that what he said is as far as he was actually involved in the crime. Always there is a thought at back of my mind about Ted not being true or right for Mary. He is young and does not have everything together. We (including her) know so little about him. Nonetheless, he is all she has got, truly. So far he keeps stepping up when he could not/older more stable men wouldn’t. Ted could still get into fight over ownership of baby even if they take the baby away from Mary.

Q: What evidence did Mary hide in death of Alyssa?

Q: Will Ted be as gracious with Mary secret(s) as she was with his? He still does not know about her secret.

=Dislikes=

Fat phobia and elevation of main character as smart to distance her from other characters.

=Likes=

I like how the story changes with your perception and the small crumbs to all the questions/mysteries in the chapters. Also, the story not only gives me the mystery to chew on. There are many points where I question the justice system and if characters are right/wrong for feeling a certain way. So far I like it and pray I continue to like it.

 

Try Chapter Tag: Reading Groove (Mostly Black Women Authored)

I did do Diverseathon but because of reasons as you will see I stopped midway through the readathon.

Diverseathon

These are just the non-comics/picture book books I read.

17286700

Red Queen Dies

+it is very current in certain aspects about the political climate of future (it is set in 2019)

-the mystery is boring sounding, narration/voice is ugh

Overall the story does not make me want to continue it. This sentiment is very much prevalent in everything I read for diverseathon. No

8763096

Ardency

1st poem: this may be too lyrical for me

further on: I don’t know if I like poetry books and upon further reading most of it feels like an inside joke that I don’t get. I’m not super familiar with the Amistad which is what the poems are about. Again, I just am not invested. No

18079775

The Secret of Magic

+more back story into characters than Red Queen Dies (even though as a story Red Queen Dies is more interesting)

This is set during the civil right movement time period so it is kind of dark. The first chapter (spoiler!) ended pretty bad. I’m really at a place that I’m not into just doom and gloom.  I just did feel interested after first chapter. No

I really want to see a psychological thriller with a black woman as the main character from the publishing industry in the future.

I was not enjoying the books I picked up for Diverseathon so I hit a reading slump that I hope that I can get out of it in February.

Non-Diverseathon

I have read these in the last couple of months or so.

12363795

Living Violet

-main character is kinda judgemental (I know many teens are judgemental but I think it is deeper than her being judgemental it is me finding her voice as an issue), average mean love interest

+It is interesting (it has been a while so I do not know what exactly past me thought was interesting)

No

It is basically a black girl main character filling the space of the average girl who is introduced to fantasy world. The problem comes when I already have an issue with the genre of teen paranormal romance girls. I have a problem with the voice of most y.a. characters in general so yeah.

18813642

Bad Feminist

Jumps around in the first essay in a weird way. I think it is because of  the informalness with which she is writing. I want to like it more but it feels like a rehashing of things but not in a fun way.  No

30037870

Randomly decided to read Allegedly even though I was super afraid I would not like it. It kinda reminds me of Fosters which is a good show.

+the main characters voice is way more fun to be around than a lot of others in y.a.

-fatphobia is present in here

I probably will not finish this book knowing me (my relationship with y.a. and fiction in general) but right now Yes

Questions (don’t actually answer/spoil it)

Did she do it? And why?

Did her mom do it? I think her mom left her alone with the baby and she as a nine year old made a mistake she has blocked out. Or her mom is a psychopath who did it but blamed her daughter. I like the second theory because it is devious and can have a dramatic reveal towards the end.

What is the difference between baby jail and juvie?

Is she related to the child that died? How does she know the child who died? I think the child who died is actually not related to her because I sort of read the back which makes it seem like it is just a baby someone left for her mom and her to babysit.

The true winner of this Try A Chapter Tag is Allegedly since it is the only book I half-way liked. So I am going to read that and hopefully finish a non-fiction book sometime this year.