(Maintained and edited by Sophie Barkerwood)
Welcome to the Panel (sounds mysterious and Hunger Gamesy, bear with); where young readers are presented with the opportunity to give their opinions on books they’ve read and loved, and share them with the world. Every few months a free book is selected for each member, and their thoughts on it are published here. If you’re below 19 and live nearby, or visit Scarthin Books in Cromford regularly, and are interested in joining, please visit in store and email youngfictionreviewpanel@with your details and a review of a book you’ve read recently and you could be amongst the wonderful reviews we have on show. *witty goodbye pun involving books*
Click below to read the Panel’s reviews:
OUR LATEST REVIEW PUBLISHED 24th May 2018
There is only one word which can accurately and adequately describe Angie Thomas’ The Hate
U Give: powerful. This is a novel which is entirely rooted in story, context and humanity, and
these three aspects have been expertly woven together by Thomas to create a truly incredible
piece of fiction.
The Hate U Give challenges many of the – sadly – lasting prejudices and stereotypes which
cause a great deal of the strife and conflict in our own world today. It’s a story of racism in the
United States, and of the preconceived notions that people have of those who speak in a certain
way, live in a certain place or have a particular shade of skin.
It focuses on Starr, a black sixteen year old girl who is the sole witness to the murder of her black
childhood friend by a white police man, when neither of the friends was doing anything wrong.
Thomas writes a tale of injustice which so shockingly and specifically mirrors hundreds of other
cases from across the globe in the last few years, never mind throughout history.
There is very little that The Hate U Give does not have to offer, it jumps between action, politics,
human nature and nurture and even philosophy. I, for one, found myself rethinking the way that I
viewed the world even as a person who prides herself on not judging until I understand a
situation well enough to have an opinion based on fact and comprehension. Even before I had
made it half way through, I knew that Thomas had written something that is incredibly important
all over the world, no matter what walk of life you come from – especially in the current social and
Somehow, in spite of the fact that she’s writing fiction, Thomas has managed to create
something thrilling, gripping and even inspirational and educational without covering the story in
the glitz and glam that most stories which attempt to do similar do. The Hate U Give does not
glorify anything. Not the murder of Khalil, not the struggles that Starr has after witnessing it, and
not even the morality of the characters. It shows people as they would be in reality; flawed, but
still capable of being both great and undeniably good.
Whilst The Hate U Give is not the most entertaining read that I have had, it was a remarkable
experience. I found that slipping into the pages of Thomas’ novel awoke a part of me that will
stay with me for a long time, and will affect my every interaction for the better.
It’s authentic. It’s accessible. It’s powerful. It’s the book that everyone, no matter how young or
old, no matter the colour of their skin, and no matter how rich or poor should read the second that
they get the chance because the issues that it raises are relevant and we will not find a solution
until we understand them from every perspective, but the perspective given in The Hate U Give
is probably the most important, and the most overlooked perspective to understand.
If this is Thomas’ first novel, I’m practically quivering in anticipation of what she’ll do next.