the hate you give

The Impact "The Hate U Give" Had on a Mid-Twenties White Female

Image of The Hate U Give Book by Angie Thomas Here's what you need to know about this post. It MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS. It WILL cover some delicate subjects. You may feel offended, but I can promise that I in no way, meant to offend anyone. Lastly, this book is so important and I loved it so much.

I want to start by saying that I listened to the audio version of this book through I had to take multiple breaks (around 5), and it took over a month to finish. This was NOT because it was bad. It was in fact, incredibly written with so much grace. However, because of the themes it became necessary to take emotional breaks from it. I spent those breaks listening to many Harry Potter books, which I think in all honesty, the main character, Starr would have understood (she LOVES Harry Potter). Lastly, if you weren't already aware, this book discusses why the #BlackLivesMatter movement is so important.

This is a hard post to write. I can feel with each letter I type, that there will be some fallout once it is posted. Someone will say something negative. Someone may un-friend me. However, If I don't write how I feel about this novel, I think I would be providing a dis-service. I need to be brave like Starr and find my voice to speak for those who struggle to be heard. AND YES, people of color still struggle to be heard.

The first thing that you need to know about, The Hate U Give, is that in the first 25 pages, Starr sees her childhood best friend get shot three times by a police officer. Now, to be clear, this is not a post against the police. I myself have family and friends in law enforcement. Starr has an uncle, a fantastic, father-like, uncle, who is a police officer. However, in these first 25 pages, you witness a police officer pull two teens over for a broken taillight. Before you ask, there was some attitude. There were no drugs or other paraphernalia. Just two teens going home from a party with a broken taillight. One (Khalil), turned away from the officer, and in turn got three bullets in his back. Khalil, the main focus of this book, was just going to see if Starr was alright. These are the facts. This is what happened. Does attitude and a turn-away give an excuse for murder? These are the questions that this book poses, as well as many others of equal importance.

Now, because this blog is titled, Confessions of a Starstruck Bookseller, I think it is time for some confessions on my part. I can be very ignorant when it comes to world news. That is a fact. Cases involving Treyvon Martin, Oscar Grant, and Eric Garner were all on my radar, but I thought that they were depressing, and didn't really investigate into them. I was also aware of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, but didn't participate. In fact, until I finished this book, I didn't realize that they had just won the 2017 Sydney Peace Award.

In the book, there is a character named, Hailey. Hailey is not a horrible person. However, she does say some racist, and potentially racist things. She does NOT want to be considered a racist. In fact, I think that that is her worst fear. Yet, when she gets called out, she does not respond well. She gets defensive and I think that that is how a lot of people react. I think that a lot of people, white people specifically, would love to ignore racism all together. "If we don't talk about it, it doesn't exist" right? We become so careful with what we say, that we don't say anything out of fear. This can also mean not speaking up for people of color, when we really should. We would rather stay out of it or pretend that nothing happened. While listening to Option B, by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant, they mention a term called the "mum effect" which I think explains what I am trying to say, in better words:

"Even after an unarmed black person is killed for reaching over to show a cop his license, white people who have seen the news, who live in these communities, and who sit at the desk next to us at work will often say nothing," Maxine said. "For the victim of racism, like the victim of loss, the silence is crippling. the two things we want to know when we're in pain are that we're not crazy to feel the way we do and that we have support. Acting like nothing significant is happening to people who look like us denies us all of that." (pg. 34)

It is revealed on page 250 of The Hate U Give, that Hailey, one of Starr's best friend's, unfollowed Starr's Tumblr account, because she didn't want to "see that shit" anymore. "That shit" refers to pictures of protests, pictures of support, and pictures of awareness. As I mentioned in an earlier paragraph, I also thought that these kinds of posts were "depressing" and thus did not educate myself (hence the ignorance). I think the scariest part of this book, was realizing how similar I was so Hailey, something and someone I will strive not to be in the future. Like Hailey, it is also a fear of mine, to be called racist, or to be called out for saying something racist. I would hope I would never say anything like that, but I probably have in the past and (the sad part is) not even realized it. I related to Hailey, more than I wanted to admit while reading. After reading, I had to come clean with myself. There is a passage that really spoke to me, that I am going to include here:

It's like somebody hit a pause button on my heart. "They're protesting for Khalil?'

"Yeah," Hailey says, all giddy and shit. "Perfect timing too. I so did not study for that English exam. This is, like, the first time Remy actually came up with a good idea to get out of class. I mean, it's kinda messed up that we're protesting a drug dealer's death, but-" (p.183)

Now, at first glance, this could seem like a regular teen phrase. A teen is excited to get out of an exam. However, Starr's narration goes on to point out the (what should be obvious) racist implications of what Hailey has just said. She want's to protest a dead teens death because it gets her out of an exam, NOT because she feels what happened is wrong. She in fact, thinks the exact opposite. By stating that he was a drug dealer, she is giving an excuse to the officer who shot and killed Khalil. It in turn becomes okay in her mind, because of that.

I think this brings up another important topic. How are we getting the news of these deaths? How does the media play into our emotions and how we feel about them? Obviously, for Hailey, she had already dismissed Khalil's death because the media had painted him as a negative character. I believe that this happens a lot. I think people see enough headlines reading, "drug dealer" or "theif" and those are the words that determine these teens and young adult's fates. One news source that I feel is doing a great job of battling this (and not just because a former Vroman's Bookseller and friend writes for them) is Mic. I would highly recommend checking out their "About" section, as it says everything I would want to say about them and more. Right before I wrote this paragraph, I subscribed to their email list and was super excited that I would be getting their top 5 news posts to my inbox the next day. They are informative and really get to the heart of whats going on in our world.

To wrap this post up, I want to again state how much Angie Thomas affected my worldview with this book. Since reading, I have looked up many different news articles relating to police brutality and will strive to be continually informed.  I have faced some potentially racist moments in my past & discussed them with friends. I've talked about the book & it's impact with my co-workers, and got everyone hyped for this post, that might actually be horribly written. However, here's hoping it hits someone the right way!  It seems funny that a book would do all that, but then again, it doesn't. If I hadn't spent the last 6 1/2 years of my life in a bookstore, I would be a completely different person, just beacause of the way I grew up. I wouldn't know about the lack of diversity in books, that has only JUST started to change. I wouldn't know that there were campaigns to support diverse books. I wouldn't know that there was a world of books that could change lives, just by showing a child someone similar to themselves. This book bought a very sentitive subject to the masses in a really loving and eye-opening way. Even though it is called, The Hate U Give, I didn't feel any hate while reading it. Instead I felt sadness, fear, anxiety, love, compassion and what needs to happen to continue to move the world forward.

The world is changing and we need to change with it. 

<3 Jen in the Bookstore



Additionally, here are some things to look out for if you love, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas:


Image result for dear martin nic stone

Dear Martin by Nic Stone, published by Crown Books for Young Readers (Random House Children's Books)-out: 10/17/17


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Dear White People (Netflix)


I will be taking Dear Martin, on a trip with me this weekend. I cant wait to compare and contrast the two books. I also already watched, Dear White People and loved every second.


*I also want to give a quick shout out to Susan, for being my never-complaining hand-model, and Tiffany for being my superhero sensitivity reader. Love you both!




Happy Mother's Day to All the Book Mom's Who Helped Raise Me & Those I Wish Had

Happy Mother's Day, Moms of the world! I wanted to write this post, because of 1) Mother's Day, 2) there aren't actually a lot of Mom's featured in Children and Teen Literature, & 3) of the ones that are, they are pretty BAD ASS.

Growing up, I got pretty lucky. Not only did I have a Mom who was constantly giving up her time, energy and kindness to others & myself, BUT I ALSO had many book mothers. These Mom's (like my own-i'm not trying to get in trouble here ;) ) were strong. They fought for their kids. They protected them, cheered for them and were their number one fans. In reading about them, along with my own mother's praise, I think I managed to get a pretty big head. I can hear you all saying, "nooooo". However, humor aside, I learned how to implement all of these women's qualities into my own life. I grew up knowing the kind of person I wanted to be and continue to strive to be like them.

The women I'm  talking about are featured in the following titles:

The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco

Favorite Quote (relating to Moms):

"At night I would trace my fingers around the edges of each animal on the quilt before I went to sleep I told my mother stories about the animals on the quilt. She told me whose sleeve had made the horse, whose apron had made the chicken, whose dress had made the flowers, and whose babushka went around the edge of the quilt." (Patricia Polacco)

This whole story is about family (Patricia's to be exact), and their tradition of keeping a special quilt alive. The reason I picked the quote above, was because it encourages storytelling between a Mother and her child.

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Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

I think by now, you all (as readers of my blog) should know that I have a thing with Kevin Henkes' work. BUT REALLY. He writes families and growing up so beautifully.

Here is my favorite quote:

""Oh, pish," said her mother. "Your name is beautiful."

"And precious and priceless and fascinating and winsom," said her father.

"It's everything you are," said her mother." (Kevin Henkes)

I think the reason I picked this quote is self-explanatory. I love that not only did her mother say that her name was beautiful, but also that it encompassed Chrysanthemum herself.  Heartfelt confidence boosters are always a plus in my book.

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The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

I'm sorry you all! I just love Kevin's work! In The Year of Billy Miller, Kevin splits up Billy's life into four parts-His Dad, Mom, sister and teacher.

The quote I love most is at the end of the book, but if you haven't read it, DON'T WORRY! I really don't think that this will give away anything.

"He scanned the crowd for Mama, and he saw her instantly. She was right at the foot of the stage. Their eyes connected, and he knew that she'd been watching him. She'd heard him, even without the microphone on. She was smiling and nodding. " (Kevin Henkes)

I love this, because of how in-tune their connection is with one another. I think it speaks volumes in how Mom's kind of just know what's going on with their children instinctively.

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Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

This story, while about Cat and Maya, actually features their Mother's heritage a lot. While her daughters learn more about it and Dia de los Muertos, their mother states:

“I was your typical, stubborn American teenager. I wanted to do things the ‘modern’ way. I guess after your Abuela died . . . a lot of old traditions died with her.” (Raina Telgemeier)

I love this intimate look at a Mom and how she explains why her daughters are just discovering more of her.

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Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Man, oh man, J.K. Rowling KNOWS how to write Mothers. The two I am sticking with for this post are Lily Potter and Molly Weasley. Below, you will find explanations in the form of quotes or statements of why they are great Moms:

Let's start with Molly-

""No one's denying what he's done!" said Mrs. Weasley, her voice rising, her fists trembling on the arms of her chair. "But he's still-"

"He's not a child!" said Sirius impatiently.

"He's not an adult either!" said Mrs. Weasley, the color rising in her cheeks. "He's not James, Sirius!""(J.K. Rowling)

This is a hard quote, no one is denying that. It's hard because Harry finally has a father figure in his life-a parent that he never got to have...EXCEPT for the fact that Molly has been a mother figure to him, ever since they met. Molly feels the same about Harry as one of her own children. This quote puts on page, that struggle. The struggle of wanting Harry to have someone, but also not wanting to give up her motherly duties towards him.

And then Lily-

I can't find the exact quotes at the moment- but Harry survived so much because of Lily. Her love, gave him protection from the most evil being in his world-more than once. Her love placed a protection over her sister's home, so that Harry would be safe there AND gave him protection in the form of Professor Snape. The main reason why Harry is able to defeat Voldemort SO MANY TIMES, is because of her love. So as readers, we know that it has to be incredibly strong.

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Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Oh Wonder, how you made me cry. Like Henkes' The Year of Billy Miller, R. J. Palacio saves her tear-jerker for the end of her novel, in this quote:

"“You really are a wonder, Auggie. You are a wonder.”" (R. J. Palacio)

Auggie's Mother puts so much of her love and joy into this sentence that it makes your heart swell.

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The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

I chose the graphic novel version of this title, because there are some really sweet illustrated scenes between Percy and his Mom.

However, here is a quote from the book:

"When she looks at me, it's like she's seeing all the good things about me, none of the bad. I've never heard her raise her voice or say an unkind word to anyone..." (Rick Riordan)

This also radiates love. It's especially cool to see Percy realize the way his mom feels about him. Sally Jackson had to deal with so much, being Percy's Mom, the mom of a Demigod. However, she did it with so much strength, while fighting to make sure Percy was safe and happy.

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Divergent by Veronica Roth

Natalie Prior in Divergent is similar to that of Lily Potter or Sally Jackson. She too gives up her life for her child, and just like Percy, Tris knew exactly what her Mother must have been thinking.

"My mother's death was brave I remember how calm she was, how determined. It isn't just brave that she died for me; it is brave that she did it without announcing it, without hesitation, and without appearing to consider another option." (Veronica Roth)

Tris gets to see her Mother for who she was, while figuring out what bravery REALLY means. 

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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This is another I don't have an exact quote for. However, our main character Starr's Mother, Lisa, is a force to be reckoned with. She is a fierce protector like the other Moms I've mentioned, but also knows how to give her daughter freedom. She steps back and lets her daughter make her own choices- whether it's boys or deciding what message she wants to share with the world. She also keeps secrets for her. She knows when to step in and when to step back, and that's something that I really appreciated about her character.

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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Frannie Lancaster is the Mom in this book. Though she is actually a bit over protective at times (can you blame her, her child is dying of cancer), she always has Hazel's best interest at heart. When Hazel wants to go to Amsterdam to meet and author, Mrs. Lancaster accompanies her and Gus there!

""What can we do?" Mom asked again.

I shrugged.

But she kept asking, as if there were something she could do, until I just kind of crawled across the couch into her lap and my dad came over and held my legs really tight and I wrapped my arms all the way around my mom's middle and they held on to me for hours while the tide rolled in." (John Green)

I love the quote above because it shows how much a simple hug or the act of holding, can soothe a child. Sometimes that is what they need. I felt like Hazel's Mom was always ready for a hug.

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If I stay by Gayle Forman

Ugh. Similar to the book or two above, this was a rough read. The Mom in it, Kat Hall, although very different from her child, still manages to connect with her. As Mia loves classical music more and more, Kat and Mia's Dad buy her her own cello. Kat praises Mia and roots her on and she is waiting for an acceptance to Juliard. She is her biggest fan and I loved that about her character.

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ALSO, for those of you who can't or do not celebrate Mother's Day, I would recommend the following:

Stella Brings the Family by Miriam B. Schiffer

This is a beautiful story. Stella doesn't have a Mom that she can bring to her class's Mother's Day celebration, so she brings her Dads...and a few other family members. It is sweet, funny and gives another perspective on the Holiday.

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and Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley

Circus Mirandus is about a boy who was raised by his Grandfather. Now that his Grandfather is gravely sick, Micah will do whatever it takes to get a mysterious lightbender to give him a miracle. I chose this book to feature because I know there are a lot of kids out there, who are raised by their Grandparents. The relationship between Micah and his Grandfather was endearing and would be a perfect read for some of those kids, as well as others.

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That's it for this post! I hope you have a wonderful Holiday with those you hold dear, whether it be your Mom, Aunt, Grandmother, the opposite (Dad, Uncle or Grandfather), or even a really close friend.

<3 Jen in the Bookstore