The Hate U Give


The Hate U Give is a young adult novel by Angie Thomas, that follows a protagonist drawn to activism after she witnesses the police shooting of her unarmed friend. Published February 28, 2017 by Balzer + Bray, The Hate U Give opened at number one on The New York Times young adult best-seller list. It is Thomas's debut novel.


Shaken by the 2009 shooting of Oscar Grant, Thomas initially developed the project as a short story for her senior project in Belhaven University’s creative writing program.[1] While writing the short story, the project quickly expanded, though Thomas temporarily put it aside after graduation; speaking to Ebony, Thomas noted the emotional strain of the subject matter.[2] But the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, and Sandra Bland drew Thomas back to expand the project into a novel,[2] which she titled after Tupac Shakur's "THUG LIFE" concept: "The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody."[3]

Publication history

Unsure whether publishers would be interested in the Black Lives Matter-inspired material, Thomas reached out to literary agent Brooks Sherman on Twitter in June 2015 to ask for advice. A year later, HarperCollins imprint Balzer + Bray bought the rights to the novel in an auction with 13 publishing houses bidding,[4] signing a two-book deal with Thomas.[5]

The 464-page book was published on February 28, 2017.[6]


The novel follows protagonist Starr Carter, a 16-year-old black high school student who witnesses a white police officer shooting her unarmed friend, Khalil. Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor black neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school that she and her brother attend. The balance of these two worlds collapse when she sees her childhood friend die at the hands of a cop. Everyone wants to know what took place that night and the only person who can answer that is Starr. But the problem is that what Starr says might endanger her life and her home. She must fight for what she believes in despite the given consequences.


The book debuted at the top of The New York Times young adult best-seller list and had 100,000 copies in print in the first month.[5] Critics widely praised the book. In The Globe and Mail, Shannon Ozirny wrote, "Ignore the YA label – this should be the one book everyone reads this year."[1] In Salon, Erin Keane said the novel is "topical, urgent, necessary, and if that weren’t enough, it’s also a highly entertaining and engaging read."[7] In the Christian Science Monitor, Katie Ward Beim-Esche wrote, "Believe the hype: The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas’s extraordinary and fearless debut, really is that good."[8]


Fox 2000 has optioned The Hate U Give for a film adaption,[5] with George Tillman Jr. and Amandla Stenberg attached to the project (to direct and act, respectively).[2] The cast is also slated to include Issa Rae, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Algee Smith, Lamar Johnson, Common,[9] and Sabrina Carpenter.[10]

  1. ^ a b Ozirny, Shannon (March 24, 2017). "Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give, Vicki Grant's Short for Chameleon and Nina LaCour's We Are Okay, reviewed". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c Philyaw, Deesha (March 14, 2017). "One-on-One with 'The Hate U Give' Novelist Angie Thomas". Ebony. Retrieved March 25, 2017. 
  3. ^ Ohikuare, Judith (2017-03-02). "How Tupac's THUG LIFE Inspired This Woman's YA Novel". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 2017-03-26. 
  4. ^ Kirch, Claire (February 25, 2016). "Balzer + Bray Prevails in 13-House Auction for YA Debut". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c Alter, Alexandra (19 March 2017). "New Crop of Young Adult Novels Explores Race and Police Brutality". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  6. ^ "THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas". Kirkus Reviews. December 6, 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  7. ^ Keane, Erin (March 4, 2017). ""The Hate U Give": Angie Thomas' sensational debut novel should be required reading for clueless white people". Salon. Retrieved March 25, 2017. 
  8. ^ Beim-Esche, Katie Ward (1 March 2017). "'The Hate U Give' provides a window into conversations about race". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 26 March 2017. 
  9. ^ "‘Insecure’ Star Issa Rae Joins Drama ‘The Hate U Give’". Variety, August 23, 2017.
  10. ^ Ford, Rebecca (August 24, 2017). "Sabrina Carpenter Joins YA Adaptation 'The Hate U Give' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-09-12. 

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