Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, Khalil’s death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Starr’s best friend at school suggests he may have had it coming. When it becomes clear the police have little interest in investigating the incident, protesters take to the streets and Starr’s neighborhood becomes a war zone. What everyone wants to know is: What really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could destroy her community. It could also endanger her life. 

Wow, what a timely read!!! At this moment I can’t even adequately put into words how I feel about this book. I experienced anger, sadness, understanding, empathy, and so many other things. There’s no way it should have taken me a week to finish this book, but sometimes life gets in the way. 

In the spirit of Stand Your Ground by Victoria Christopher Murray and Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, The Hate U Give gives us a perspective into racism from a point of view we rarely see in the news. This time we hear from the eyewitness of a police shooting. The short premise is that Starr saw one of her childhood friends get murdered by a police officer and we see the media attempt to dehumanize/criminalize the friend so Starr wrestles with the decision of testifying and having her memories of the night turned around. My heart truly went out to her and I can totally see why this book is already being turned into a major motion picture. It is THAT good and it is a story worth telling. 

I could say so much more about this book, but I’ll simply end this with a passage:

“It’s about Oscar. 

Aiyana. 

Trayvon. 

Rekia. 

Michael. 

Eric. 

Tamir. 

John. 

Ezell. 

Sandra. 

Freddie. 

Alton. 

Philando. 

It’s even about that little boy in 1955 who nobody recognized at first – Emmett. 

The messed up part? There are so many more.”


Review: Back to December by Danielle Allen

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Life made me resilient.
Love made me vulnerable.
Marriage made me… Emily Diaz.

When I married the man of my dreams, I assumed it was forever.

So when circumstances called for me to leave the man I loved, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life.

But betrayal changes everything.
And everything happens for a reason.

Being in love with myself enough to walk away brought me back to life.
Being in love with my life again brought me back to reality.
Being in love with someone else, well, that brought me back to December.

 

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Emily…Em…Auntie Em…Whatever name she is going by, the main character in Back to December is a woman that we currently are, we once were, or she reflects one of our girlfriends. I honestly have never felt this personally connected to a character since Ben from Arsen which I read back in 2014. Emily is a broken woman due to an unfortunate string of events but the main reason is being betrayed by her husband.

Emily starts on a journey to see who she really is as a woman without a husband. The agony, pain, and the feeling of being defeated is beautifully and perfectly written by Allen. And, to be completely transparent, I make that statement because I could have easily switched out a few of the details as far as the husband’s profession and his choice of words and Back to December could be a part of my life story. There is something exceptionally special about a book that truly touches your spirit and this book does just that.

“You said you don’t know about marriage, but do you have it in you to love again?”

Emily meets a colorful cast of characters during her journey of finding self. And, the question posed above is one that made me sit and reflect on how I would even answer that. Love in itself is hard, but love after divorce is even harder. We get a row seat into how Emily navigates life as she goes through a divorce and shortly thereafter. Ms. Allen has a tremendous gift in being able to perfectly illustrate with words what it means to allow yourself time to hurt/mourn, bounce back, to allow others in again, and most importantly, how to fall completely in love with yourself after someone tried their best to break you!!!

I don’t do this often, but I highly recommend Back to December. This could totally be because of selfish reasons because I am pretty sure that I am not the only woman in the world that has been through and/or will share an experience similar to Emily’s. This was my first time reading a book by Danielle Allen, but it definitely won’t be my last!

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Buy Back to December here!

Lust by Victoria Christopher Murray

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From the NAACP Image award winner and national bestselling author Victoria Christopher Murray, a novel inspired by the seven deadly sins about a woman caught between an entertainment mogul with a shady past and his childhood friend who is out for revenge.

Tiffanie has lived a sheltered life in a very strict household with her pastor-grandfather and grandmother in Washington, DC. But when she meets Damon King, she falls for the successful entertainment business man despite his history as a drug dealer. Everyone sees nothing but the brightest future for the couple—but there’s one person who wants to destroy them.

Trey Johnson is Damon’s childhood best friend with whom he built quite a successful drug business. But when the game got hot and Damon decided to leave, Trey stayed and continued to sell drugs, until he was arrested and spent seven years in prison.

But now he’s out and able to attend the wedding. While Damon is thrilled to have Trey back and hopes to bring his best friend into his business, Trey has other plans. He blames Damon for his demise and plans to ruin him, even if that means bringing Tiffanie down as well.

Trey is sure he will succeed, but he doesn’t know that there will be deadly consequences. And at the end, there will only be one man standing…

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Whew, where to start?!?! Obviously I had an idea of what the content would probably entail because of the title, but this story was told in a way that kept me interested and that I think almost everyone will be able relate to. Lust. Desire. Taboo. If folks are being honest then we will admit there was at least one time in our lives that we wanted something and/or someone we shouldn’t.

“God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. And if you can bear it, you can get out of it.”

The main character Tiffanie finds herself in an unexpected position and at times she made it hard for me to root for her and her well-being. Not only does this story focus on Tiff’s dilemma but it also has very important lessons in regards to loyalty, friendship, and forgiveness. Murray weaves a seamless storyline that delivers a valuable message on how it is imperative that we turn to God when fighting a battle instead of trying to do it on our own. As always, Ms. Murray delivers on all of the elements that I enjoy in a book: fully developed characters, there’s an emotional connection, and it makes you stop and reflect on your own life.

Today is its release day and I’d highly recommend you visit your favorite online or in-store retailer and grab a copy!!

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Buy your copy of Lust here!