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May/Jun 18 The Hate/Radium Girls > Writing Style (The Hate U Give)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Sort of random, but I really love the writing style in "The Hate U Give"! It reads human. I find far too often that authors try to perfect their characters to the point that they sound robotic, but Angie Thomas keeps humanizing her characters. I think it's beautiful.


message 2: by Jo, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Jo (jo_9) | 373 comments Mod
Hi Tess, I just wanted to pop in unannounced to say that I edited your title slightly so that we know which of the two books you are talking about. Sorry for that intrusion - as you were. :)


message 3: by Jordan (new)

Jordan E | 7 comments Human yes, and definitely like a teen.


message 4: by Charlene (new)

Charlene Morris | 89 comments Thanks for letting me know what the writing style is like. I have the book on my nightstand right now waiting until I finish the book I am currently reading. I should start it next week.


message 5: by Britt (new)

Britt | 123 comments I entirely agree with you and said the same to myself when I was reading the book. It's one of the many reasons I really loved it - it really reminded me of when I was a teenager (even though my life and Starr's are nowhere near comparable!).


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Britt wrote: "I entirely agree with you and said the same to myself when I was reading the book. It's one of the many reasons I really loved it - it really reminded me of when I was a teenager (even though my li..."

I think that's my favourite thing as well! It feels relatable, even for people who's lives are nothing like the characters'. I like that I am able to see myself in the situations, even though I am about as far from the situation of the characters as you can get.


message 7: by Sierra (new)

Sierra | 42 comments I loved the writing style too! It made me more connected to Starr and I don't think the story could've been told in any other way. I think a lot of people could relate to her having "Garden Heights" voice and "school" voice.

Yes, it was clearly written in a teenage voice, which might not be every person's cup of tea, but I think it captured exactly what we, as readers, need to see and feel. I think for young people of color, they could relate more. For me as a caucasian, middle class adult, it brought me into her world, and helped put me in her shoes.


message 8: by Leanne (new)

Leanne (leanniefae) | 3 comments I listened to the audio of this as read by Bahni Taylor (think that's her last name) and she perfectly captures Starr's voice. Not too juvenile, but not grown either. Angie Thomas is on my must-read list now.


message 9: by Héloïse (new)

Héloïse | 3 comments Indeed, I agree with all of you! Despite being a French (white) teenager, I felt like I could completely relate with Starr's feelings. In a way, it made the whole thing even scarier as it made me more aware of the horror people my age face on a daily basis in some parts of the world.
Besides, the author also captured very well the biased portrayal of "thugs" and "the hood" by the medias and how easy it is for privileged people (including me) to be "manipulated" into into thinking that a death like Khalil's doesn't matter as much because he was (supposedly or not) dealing drugs. Reading through Starr's POV was therefore eye-opening for me.


message 10: by Elyse (new)

Elyse (winesaboutbooks) My MIL read this in one sitting one morning while her and FIL were visiting last week. lol. She really liked it! I haven't started it yet. lol


message 11: by nil (new)

nil (nilnil) I totally agree. I really felt like Starr was a teenager and that her experiences and voice were very authentic. I find that a lot of YA lit doesn't really capture a teen's voice very well or that they say and do things that is really out of character for someone of that age group.


message 12: by Maria (new)

Maria Vogel | 1 comments It honestly took me a little bit to understand where her style was going. I think it is because the rawness of writing a teens point of view is often lost in translation. It made the story feel more believable to me.


message 13: by Cyn (new)

Cyn | 80 comments I also agree on that. The way the book is written makes you feel the same age as Starr and it makes it easy for the reader to relate to the story even though you had never remotely experienced what she has.


message 14: by MaryJane (new)

MaryJane Rings I am a great grandmother but I found Starr's character very believable. I still remember when my children were teenagers and the world they were navigating has gotten so much more complex. I read current events as well as books that are written for the culture now. Yes, I am still learning. I found Starr's story to be very poignant and too close to home with what is happening here in the US. I felt her story and her voice were so well depicted and that we could all learn from her experiences. I felt I knew her and wanted to comfort her in a grandmotherly manner.


message 15: by Anna (new)

Anna | 38 comments I entirely agree. Starr's voice is very authentic, she sounds like a real living teenager, and not a grown-up pretending to be one. I really like the way the language reflects various present themes, for instance I loved the expression 'to become a hashtag'. Just brilliant!

The author uses first person present tense, which is quite rare. Most authors use past tense. I think the present tense might be one of the reasons we, as readers, connect with Starr. This way we read about things at the same time as they are happening to Starr.


message 16: by Kate (new)

Kate (katetakate) | 96 comments Interesting points above, I agree. Anna, your point about the effectiveness of the author using first person present tense is spot on - hadn't thought about it that way before.

I enjoyed how real and relatable her characters' voices seemed, especially as I also listened to it read aloud on Audio book - narrated by Bahni Turpin - who did an exceptional job!

I liked how Angie Thomas wrote illustrating Starr's necessity to constantly “code-switch” – changing her speech and behaviour in an attempt to avoid being the token “ghetto black girl”, or another powerful stereotype: the “angry black woman" - equally poignant and gave me food for thought.


message 17: by Nadine (new)

Nadine ♥ (misshappyreading) | 21 comments I agree with all of you. I read the book a while ago and I told everyone that I absolutely adored the writing. As said in this threat before, it helped me to connect with the characters.

AND I have to mention I read the book in German. So this is also a big compliment on the translator, because they did no cut out the English completely. It felt like Starr was standing right in front of me trying to find her voice.

A really unique writing style. Loved it.


message 18: by Lama (new)

Lama | 1 comments I also really like how she created the identity conflict within her writing, with Starr not really knowing whether to be 'Williamson Starr' or 'Garden Heights Starr' in many moments throughout the book. It came through beautifully and illustrated a really integral part of the story.


message 19: by Isabelle (new)

Isabelle (ivorylunatic) | 1 comments This kind of writing style has bothered me in certain books before but here it was just perfect. It works for the book and story and makes it feel so much more real to me. It was a very quick read to me but this is a book that will stick with me for a long time. Excellent choice of writing


message 20: by Mary Beth (new)

Mary Beth (lifelovebooks) | 2 comments I agree with other posts. The writing style was completely perfect for this book. The inner turmoil of Starr living in two worlds feeling the need to talk in two voices, not feeling like either one was truly her is so authentic. It also felt like we were really in her head as things played out, and made her decisions about finally speaking the truth so much more momentous.


message 21: by Anna (new)

Anna | 38 comments Kate wrote: "I liked how Angie Thomas wrote illustrating Starr's necessity to constantly “code-switch” – changing her speech and behaviour in an attempt to avoid being the token “ghetto black girl”, or another powerful stereotype: the “angry black woman" - equally poignant and gave me food for thought"

Totally agree! Also, I think the way Starr code-switches less and less towards the end of the novel shows an important character development. She is finally able to integrate her two different personas (the Williamson Starr and the Garden Heights Starr).


message 22: by Danielle (new)

Danielle (daniderp) | 3 comments I agree with previous posts: the writing style really enforced the conflict that Starr was experiencing; the struggle to keep her two worlds separate. I felt in Garden Heights her father always reminded Starr to not be ashamed of where she came from and Chris accepted Starr from the beginning even though Starr kept most of her past from him. Regardless, he was supportive of her. This help unified her voice in the end.


message 23: by Sara (new)

Sara | 1 comments I agree, the writing is great. I feel like I'm listening in to a group of teens on the subway.


message 24: by Drew (new)

Drew Rodriguez | 1 comments I really like the storyline and the messages/lessons that were conveyed in the book however for the writing style, some chapters could bore young readers and personally, it felt monotonous but it was a great journey and the whole book is A MUST READ, very timely oo.


message 25: by Elyse (new)

Elyse (winesaboutbooks) I just finished the book yesterday. It was amazing. The writing style isn't really my usual style but I was able to get used to it after awhile and it certainly didn't take away from the story.


message 26: by Michelle (new)

Michelle | 6 comments I loved the writing style. Instead of conforming to grammatically correct English, The Hate U Give allowed language and the way the character's used it to be realistic. The style and the two voices showed the internal conflict that Starr experienced in a way that made it easy to connect with her as a character.


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