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There's a reason The Hate U Give has been on the NY Times Bestseller list since it debuted in 2017. Not only is the novel incredibly well written, but it's a poignant story about something that we see happening all of the time. This novel honestly changed my entire perspective.


I first read this novel not long after it came out. Honestly, I was afraid to read it because it was such a popular book and I didn't understand the subject matter. How could I? I am a middle class white woman. I have certain privileges. But, I have also seen how police brutality affects entire communities.

In 2016, Alton Sterling was killed by police in Baton Rouge, not far from where I live and worked at the time. I witnessed how people rose up against policy brutality. I saw how racism gripped an entire community as people made every excuse for the officer killing Alton. I even believed them. I'm ashamed to admit that, because I didn't understand it then.

While I will never understand what it's like to be Black in America, reading this novel completely changed my views. Black Lives Matter isn't a political movement, it's a people movement.

Starr lives in Garden Heights, and it isn't exactly a safe place. She witnessed one of her best friends being gunned down when she was ten. That's when her parents pulled her out of the public school and put she and her brothers into private school which is majority white. The novel begins at a party during Spring Break in Garden Heights. Thomas did a fantastic job introducing us to several key players in the very beginning.

While at the party, Starr runs into her other childhood best friend, Khalil. Recently, their lives have gone in different directions, but seeing him again, there's a spark of something between them. There always has been.

The party is broken up by gunfire, and everyone scatters.

Khalil offers to give Starr a ride home, and the two of them take off, away from the party. But shortly after, a police officer pulls them over. Khalil is gunned down when he reached into the car for a hair brush. Starr witnesses her other best friend's death at the hands of an officer.

THUG doesn't just expose police brutality, but also gives insight into what it's like in Black communities and how gangs thrive and die. Starr goes on to pursue justice for her friend, but, like many killings we see today, justice is not served.

What I really loved about this novel was seeing Starr's struggle between Starr at Home and Starr at School. She couldn't be too Black in one place, and she couldn't be too White at home.

There's a reason this novel has been on the bestseller list as long as it has: it tells a brutally honest story about things that are going on today.

I couldn't understand the Black Lives Matter movement because of my privilege. I'm so thankful that Angie Thomas wrote this novel, because I may have never even tried had I not read it.


Overall, the plot of the movie stuck pretty close to the novel. They eliminated a few side plotlines and simplified the overall story.

I really loved the casting. Amandla Steinberg was absolutely perfect as Starr. The entire Carter family, in fact, was well cast. I was surprised to see Anthony Mackie play King, one of the main villains in the novel. I'm used to seeing him play a superhero. It's always great to see actors exploring their range.

There were two key changes made from the novel to the movie that I want to discuss:

  1. Starr is dating a white guy from her private school. When all hell breaks loose and there's a riot in Garden Heights toward the climax of the novel, Starr decides she wants to join in, because she did the right thing and it meant nothing. In the novel, Chris joins Starr. In the movie, they eliminated him from this part of the plot. I was really disappointed, because I feel like it was incredibly important for Chris to see the riots first hand. How can he understand Starr if he doesn't go with her?

  2. When Starr's family store burns down in the novel, the breaking point of the tension happens when everyone in Garden Heights snitches on King for setting the building on fire. In the movie, King approaches as though he's going to hurt Starr, and Starr's younger brother Sekani pulls his dad's gun from the back of his pants and points it at King. I literally gasped and burst into tears because, my god, I'd forgotten that happened in the movie and how impactful that moment is. This was a good change from the novel, one that I think really drills the point home.


THUG is an incredibly poignant story that I think everyone should read. Will it change everyone's thoughts like it changed mine? Unlikely, but if there's a chance that it could, I think we should try. We are all human, we are all people, and we all matter. But we can't all matter until Black Lives Matter.


I'm not sure if you know, but romance authors hold a "stuff your kindle" event right after Christmas each year. Last year I loaded tons of books, but I ended up not reading most of them. Instead, I went through the list this year and downloaded a handful that I thought might be interesting. This was one of them.

I love witches and southern settings, so I figured this one might be an interesting read.

I was sort of disappointed. Don't get me wrong, there's something whimsical about the world created by Boyles, but the story didn't feel like it held a lot of weight.

Pepper is a seemingly normal woman who has some problems. In the course of two hours, she loses her job, her rent check bounces, and her boyfriend basically shoves her off. Then, she's attached by a stranger and flees in her car with a talking cat. Then basically the moment she ends up in the magical town where her maternal family is, there's a murder and she's being fingered as the perp.

If done well, this could have been a fun story with lots of hijinks, but it fell short in my opinion. There was barely any romance, more of just hints in a way to keep a reader going through to the next book, but there was so little I enjoyed that I most definitely won't be reading through.


Any millennial who grew up in the late 90s and early 00s has see the wonderful move A Walk to Remember with Mandy Moore and Shane West. But did you know it was based on a novel? And that that novel was so incredibly different from the movie?

Well, now you do.


I can't remember whether I read the book or watched the movie, only that the book surprised me. It's relatively short: 207 pages, and I read it in a couple of sittings one Sunday.

The first thing about the book that you should know is that it was published in the 90s, but the story starts as Landon Carter in his 50s, remembering the year he was seventeen. That was such a stark difference from the movie, because the story actually took place in the 1950s.

When Landon was a teenager, he was known as a bit of a hoodlum. He hid behind trees and bushes and taunted a Baptist preacher from the time he was young. He snuck out at night to hang out with his friends in a graveyard, talking crap and eating boiled peanuts. If that was the worst he did, it was mild.

But, I digress. The book is a lot like most of Nicholas Sparks's: glossed over, young love in the Carolinas, ending with some tragic death. To be honest, I read a lot of Sparks when I was a teenager, and I stopped reading him because it felt like his stories were all the same, and I got to a point that I couldn't handle the tragic endings.

Still, A Walk to Remember is one of his best novels. It's sweet and a quick read.


I kind of cheated on this one. I've seen this movie so many times. I rewatch it at least once a year because it is so. damn. good. But, I have read the book multiple times so we won't call it cheating, mkay?

One thing about this movie that is incredible is the SOUNDTRACK! These songs were the soundtrack of my formative years, and no, I won't be taking questions. Back in the day, before music streaming, I owned the CD, and listen, I still write to some of the music.

The biggest difference from the book to the movie: the time period. The movie is set in the early 2000s, and that was probably the best thing they could have done. They showed just how much of a hoodlum Landon was, beginning with hazing a fellow student and trying to get away with it when the kid got hurt.

The same basic plot is kept, but it's the details that make the movie so incredible. Also, the main plot of the book was really deep in religion. While it's present in the movie, they made a lot of changes to focus on young love and dreams. I'm not the biggest on religious romances, so that was why I really loved the movie versus the book.

I loved that they gave Jamie a bucket list. That she had dreams, things she always wanted to do. As a young teenager, that got me thinking about all of the things I wanted to do with my life.

I also loved the change with Landon's family structure, because I was able to relate to the story so much more. In the book, his father worked in Congress and was rarely home. In the movie, his parents were divorced and his dad was mostly out of the picture. At the time the movie came out, I related so much to that: the anger, the heartbreak, even the forgiveness.

One thing I really love is that Mandy Moore (Jamie) and Shane West (Landon) still celebrate the movie nearly every year. They loved the project so much, and I love seeing that. It means a lot when the people behind a project that you love so much really loved it.


The book is sweet, but very little compares to the movie. It captures the early 2000s perfectly, and I tend to watch it often.


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