Angie Thomas made a splash in the YA novel scene with her breakout novel, The Hate U Give, which became a hit movie just one year later and Thomas has sky rocketed to my list of must-read authors in the last couple of years. The Hate U Give centers around Starr, who is a 16-year-old black teenager who witnesses her childhood friend get murdered by a police officer without cause. Now she’s the star witness of this traumatic event. Throughout the book she has to make the tough decision of keeping quiet or speaking up to fight for justice. This book was extremely moving for me and absolutely incredible. As a black woman it was so relatable, not just because of the everyday struggles of being a black person in America but also the humorous moments in the book made it relatable and familiar because a lot of the funny dialogue is how I could imagine people in my community speaking. Thomas definitely hit the nail on the head with such a breakout novel. After I read this book it touched me in a way to where I was telling everybody that this was a book that they needed to read, and I honestly believe that this book should be read in every high school as part of the curriculum because of the themes. It’s definitely a book that opens itself up for a good, genuine discussion.
Then we have Thomas’ sophomore novel, On The Come Up, which debuted in 2019. It follows the story of Bri, who is an aspiring rapper and she starts of doing underground rap battles. Her main reason for wanting to rap is because she knows if she makes it big she can help her and her family get out of poverty. The premise may seem like the average black story, but for me it’s more than that. On the Come Up has some of the same charm as The Hate U Give. It’s relatable to a lot of black communities from the dialogue, the relationships, and some of the struggles. These two novels of Thomas’ have sold me on her talent and her ability to relate to her readers and keep them talking. That is why I am super excited for her next novel coming out in January called Concrete Rose, which is practically a prequel to The Hate U Give, which follows the story of Starr’s dad as a teenage father. I am excited for whatever Angie Thomas has to bring me. I already read a short snippet of Concrete Rose, and I know this is another novel that I’m going to be talking about months later.
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