2019 marks the seventeenth year of this community reading event, one of the longest-running programs of its kind in the United States. SANTA MONICA READS provides opportunities for people to engage, read, and discuss the same book in guided conversation, discussion groups, and other special programs throughout the city. This years’ selection is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.
The Hate U Give captures the perspective of sixteen-year-old Starr Carter as she struggles to preserve a balance between her two polarizing worlds: Garden Heights, a predominantly black and underprivileged neighborhood, and Williamson, her mostly white, upper-class, suburban prep school. One night, Starr’s life changes dramatically after a routine traffic stop turns tragic. Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of one of her best friends, Khalil, at the hands of a white police officer. In the ensuing weeks and months, Starr grapples with fear, anger over injustice, and survivor’s guilt as she and her family come under scrutiny. As the case receives national attention and protests erupt demanding justice, Starr feels pressure to take a stance. Her desire to maintain dual identities proves more and more difficult as her two very separate worlds begin to collide. If there is to be hope for change, Starr decides she must break her silence.
This high profile, powerful, and heartbreakingly realistic story by debut author Angie Thomas addresses how racism affects marginalized populations, especially African Americans. The Hate U Give shines a light on the complexities of race in America and invites social commentary. It poses many important questions about police brutality, discrimination, prejudice, and fear. It also encourages readers to get involved in the change they want to see in the world. Timely and thought provoking, The Hate U Give has received literary praise and won read readers’ hearts worldwide. The book was awarded the Coretta Scott King and the Michael L Printz Honor Awards in 2018.