With its incredibly timely portrayal of race relations, it’s not surprising people are looking for more books like The Hate U Give.
Angie Thomas’s critically acclaimed debut novel, The Hate U Give, was written initially as a short story in reaction to the senseless police shooting of Oscar Grant in 2009, by expanding it into a novel she successfully broadened the understanding of the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Protagonist 16-year-old Starr Carter has to balance between two worlds; the predominantly white private school where she studies and the local predominantly black neighbourhood where she’s from. But it is not long before these two worlds collide when Starr is the sole witness to a devastating shooting involving her black friend Khalil and a white police officer.
The shooting acts as a catalyst setting off a string of protests and riots which leaves Starr little choice but to stand up for what is right and end the cycle of violence for good.
The books like The Hate U Give compiled below are eye-opening reads, they allow us a glimpse into a world that we perhaps aren’t familiar with, highlighting some unheard voices and the heartbreaking struggles they face on a daily basis.
9 Books like The Hate U Give
Girl, Woman, Other, by Bernardine Evaristo
In her Booker Prize-winning novel Girl, Woman, Other, Bernardine Evaristo explores the lives of twelve very different characters, documenting the struggles, desires, choices and conflicts they are faced with while navigating their way in the world.
Each character has their own chapter set during a particular period of their lives, though the novel has no overarching story the lives of the characters all interweave at some point manifesting in many ways through friends, family, location even social media.
Though mainly black British women, Evaristo has chosen twelve very different voices to explore and portray; there’s non-binary Morgan trying to determine her gender identity, lesbians Amma and Shirley who share different beliefs and 93-year-old Hattie.
Those are just a few of the unique voices represented and it is this expanse of voices and difference of experience which makes Girl, Woman, Other the perfect read for anyone looking for more astonishing books similiar to The Hate U Give.
The novel is written in a beautiful fusion of prose and poetry and explores themes of feminism, race, sexuality, politics, success and relationships a book definitely worthy of such high acclaim.
Already read this novel? Check out our list of more books like Girl, Woman, Other!
Middlesex, by Jeffery Eugenides
Middlesex is Jeffery Eugenides breathtaking follow-up to his vastly popular debut The Virgin Suicides. The novel explores the prejudices and stigma surrounding gender which is why readers of books similar to The Hate U Give are sure to be captivated by Cal’s story.
Middlesex tells the multigenerational story of the Greek-American Stephanides family and centres around Calliope Stephanides, a girl it would appear like no other. After an accident at one of her friend’s houses, Callie is taken to an emergency room and examined by a doctor who pronounces her genetically male despite showing all the outward signs of femininity.
Battling with the news that she is a hermaphrodite, Callie faces pressure from her Doctor and parents to undergo cosmetic surgery and hormone injections in order to remain outwardly female. Refusing to live as someone she’s not she runs away, cuts off her hair and begins calling herself Cal while embarking on a long and painful journey of self-acceptance and being accepted.
Written by one of the most lyrical authors of contemporary fiction, Middlesex is a truly tender story emphasising that our outward appearances shouldn’t be the thing that defines us.
Like Jeffery Eugenides’ work? Check out our list of books like The Virgin Suicides!
Dear Martin, by Nic Stone
If you like the dissection of race relations in The Hate U Give then I am sure you will also enjoy Nic Stone’s bold and undeniably real debut Dear Martin.
When Justyce McAllister is unfairly arrested he looks to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his teachings for clarity only to question their relevance in today’s day and age. The novel is comprised of a series of letters Justyce writes in his journal addressed to Dr King voicing his experiences as a victim of racial profiling.
For Justyce is a good kid, top of his class and on track for a spot at an Ivy League school but what does any of that matter when no one can see anything but the colour of his skin and he is treated like a criminal regardless?
Dear Martin is an incredibly important, relevant novel it is uncomfortable to read in places but only because we are confronted with a reality we wish wasn’t true.
The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros
Sandra Cisneros started to write The House on Mango Street as a reaction to her own feelings of displacement. For she, like her protagonist Esperanza Cordero, is a Mexican-American growing up in a Hispanic neighbourhood in Chicago. Like Starr Carter in The Hate U Give, Esperanza is also torn between her heritage and background while trying to fit into the wider world.
Told in vignettes, we get a snapshot into Esperanza’s day to day life and different occurrences sprinkled with her understandings, observations, experiences and questions.
Cisneros’ heartbreaking and breathtaking coming of age story is considered a classic and taught widely in many schools and colleges, though published in 1984 Cisneros’s novella is still relevant today especially in our migrating world.
So anyone looking for more books like The Hate U Give that explores themes of acceptance and finding a place in a conflicting world will like those aspects of The House on Mango Street too.
How We Fight For Our Lives, by Saeed Jones
A lot of the books on this list depict actions of hate towards people who are different; racially different, appear different or love differently, but what if you are different in more that one of these ways do you receive double the hate? It would appear so as Saeed Jones reveals in his unashamedly honest memoir How We Fight For Our Lives.
Jones tells his story of struggle and the prejudice he faced for being a young, black, gay man. Poetically written and told in vignettes similar to The House on Mango Street, Jones’s provides readers with a snapshot into his childhood, the turbulent relationship he has with his single mother, his sexual experimentation and ultimately coming to terms with his sexuality, learning to be proud of who he is.
Jones takes you on a volatile journey and examines race, humanity, sexuality and the power and vulnerability we need to expose to become — and accept — our true selves.
How We Fight For Our Lives is raw, honest and powerful and is an absolutely stunning next read for anyone looking for more novels like The Hate U Give.
Small Great Things, by Jodi Picoult
Though criticised for being white herself and writing a book about a prejudice she knows little about, Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things is still a work of remarkable achievement.
The novel tackles difficult topics of racism, prejudice, privilege, justice and injustice which makes it a compulsive read if you are looking for books similar to The Hate U Give.
Based on true events, Small Great Things tells the story of Ruth Jefferson an African American labour and delivery nurse with over twenty years experience. During a shift, one of Ruth’s patients is reassigned because the white supremacist parents do not want her to tend to their baby.
But tragedy strikes when Ruth is alone on the ward and their baby goes into cardiac arrest, torn between her duty as a nurse and the orders of the hospital she hesitates to administer CPR.
Before long Ruth is at the centre of an investigation into the death of the baby. Her public defender is white; how can he possibly comprehend her situation and the fate she is about to face?
Small Great Things is a compulsive page-turner, Picoult writes with intelligence and empathy offering up a painful look at humanity.
Long Way Down, by Jason Reynolds
Jason Reynolds is an author renowned for his racially driven novels and has been cited as an inspiration of Angie Thomas, therefore there isn’t much question as to whether readers of books like The Hate U Give will like Long Way Down too.
Told in fierce poetic bursts over the course of one minute, which is the time it takes Will to not only ride the elevator down from his 8th-floor apartment but also decide whether or not to exact revenge on the man responsible for his Brother’s murder.
The elevator stops at each floor and in comes someone that is somehow connected to him and his brother, providing a new piece to a puzzle he already thought he knew, altering his decision.
Long Way Down is a creative masterpiece and speaks to the reader on a variety of levels offering perspective on a problematic subject. Reynolds takes a furious look at the senseless killings at the heart of teenage gun violence questioning themes of duty, honour and revenge.
Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
Speak not only explores the depths of consent but also mental health and PTSD following a traumatic event like sexual assault. Melinda Sordino is about to start her freshman year at high school, at a party over the summer she meets Andy Evans a charming high school senior.
At that party, Melinda is raped by Andy.
Unable to vocalise what happened to her or even how she is feeling Melinda retreats inside herself, shying away from others she slips into silence as a coping mechanism.
Her parents, teachers and peers at school see her silence as a means to get attention which only worsens how she feels. Who or what will make Melinda speak up, her friendly lab partner David Patrakis? Her kind art teacher Mr Freeman? Or when Andy starts dating someone new?
Laurie Halse Anderson takes us on a soul-crushing journey looking at the effects of trauma and the ways victims are treated. The novel demonstrates the fear and personal strength involved in speaking up and the devastating cost of not which is reminiscent of Starr Carter’s struggles and what makes Speak a moving read for those looking for more novels likes The Hate U Give.
Already read this book? Check out our list of more books like Speak!
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
Henrietta Lacks is responsible for saving millions of lives, yet no credit is ever assigned to her, Lacks herself doesn’t even know the effects she has had on modern medicine.
Why or how is that even possible?
These are exactly the questions Rebecca Skloot asked when she discovered what happened to Lacks sparking decades worth of research to write the shocking true story The Immortal Lives of Henrietta Lacks.
Lacks was an African American woman growing up in Virginia in the 1950s. while receiving treatment for cervical cancer — which she later died of — doctors took tissue samples from her without her knowledge or prior consent.
These stolen cells from the HeLa cell line and became the first cultured, immortalised cells. They are still used today nearly 70 years after they were taken and have provided many advancements in modern medicine including the polio vaccine and the study of leukaemia.
Skloot expertly exposes the dark past of experimentation on African Americans and the war between scientific discovery and human consequence. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks highlights the significance and importance of every single life and is why readers of books like The Hate U Give won’t be able to put it down.
The books above highlight some undeniable prejudices that have been faced by those considered different, some that people are still facing today. Books like The Hate U Give tackle difficult truths and can be uncomfortable to read exposing hatred that you may never have experienced before or sadly know all too well.
By exposing these truths and sharing experience not only helps others suffering, it also encourages readers to look at their own behaviour towards other people, hopefully inspiring some change for the better.
Are you looking for more novels like The Hate U Give? Have any recommendations that didn’t make the list? Let us know in the comments!