I must be out of my mind if I’m trying to write a review for this book. I knew it would be fire and it absolutely did not disappointed, so why am I here thinking I can write a halfway decent review for it? Probably because I adore Angie Thomas and hold her to the highest level of amazingness that could ever be achieved. That is just a lot of words to say I’m writing a review because she and Bri deserve it. Angie took the time to give us Bri’s story so I’m taking the time to show my appreciation by writing a review. It may be sloppy, it may be nonsense, but bear with me, ok?
I feel as if I have been waiting years for this novel to come out. I fell hard for The Hate U Give and it will always hold a special place in my heart. That’s why I started this book on release day but did so cautiously. Why? Because of that high level of expectation, that is why. I should have known better. Angie Thomas is DY-NO-MITE and will always be. This author will always consistently write gold so expect nothing less.
Bri’s character was everything I hoped for and more. She was raw, flawed, real, truthful, and someone I would hope to be friends with. There were times I felt as if I were reading parts of me in her character. I’m so quick to react and not process, which was exactly what Bri did throughout most of the book. Why did she do that? Simple: this girl never had anything handed to her a day in her life. She knew the struggle of not knowing where her next meal may come from, whether the lights/heat would be on when she got home, if the busted faux shoes on her feel would hold up another day. I, too, know those struggles… probably not to the same degree as Bri but the struggle is the struggle no matter where you come from. I deeply enjoyed her character arc and felt it to be a believable one. This girl had a dream and while she was more reactive than proactive, she never lost sight of her dream. She also did the best she could no matter what.
Bri was not the only character with struggles – everyone had struggles and they were no better than anyone else. From Bri’s mom to her grandparents to her aunt to her best friends – they all had demons they were battling. All of the characters were fleshed out and brilliantly represented.
Ms. Thomas did not shy away from some heavy hitting topics, that’s for damn sure. Racism, racial profiling, drug use are just to name a few. There was also discussion of people respecting other people’s backgrounds. What’s the old saying: don’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes? That holds true here. Bri thought she had certain people figured out until the truth came out in the end. Talk about a reality check for her. I commend her for being mature enough (at the end of the book) to admit that she judged that person wrong. Bri was far from innocent throughout this story but she was for a majority (if that makes sense…)
While I am still trying to keep this review spoiler free, I want to point out how much the lyrics written impacted me. Again, I cannot begin to know everything Bri was going through but I can always appreciate amazing music/lyrics when I hear them. Fictional or not, Ms. Thomas has GAME. That helped me to connect more with this story. I felt an emotional tie to the novel as a whole and for that I could not give this anything less than all of the stars in the sky. I know Ms. Thomas has said that she was scared to write Bri’s story because a lot of it is from Angie’s personal childhood, but I applaud her for being brave enough to share with the world. This was a masterpiece and deserves every award and all of the praise. It was nothing short of brilliant. (I cannot wait to read it again)