The Hate U Give

Ever since I finished The Hate U Give, I’ve been meaning to write a post about it. This is an important novel recommended for 8th graders through adults.

The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas, is a complex, relevant novel about 16-year-old Starr Carter who is living in two worlds…her home neighborhood of Garden Heights (mostly Black) and her school neighborhood at Williamson Prep (mostly White). Mimicking contemporary society, Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of unarmed Khalil, her childhood friend, by a white police officer. The media explodes however both the police and journalists lack the information necessary to give an honest portrayal of Khalil. Starr needs to decide if and how she will stand up against the systemic racism present in her life. Grounded in family, friendship, reality, humor, and enjoyable nods to Harry Potter, Angie Thomas gives readers an intimate look into an all-too-familiar reality for far-too-many Americans.

Read the book and check out a few interviews with the author:

NPR Interview

School Library Journal Interview

HarperStacks Interview

The Booklist Reader

After reading, I used TeachingBooks to see the Lexile level and what other resources were available to connect to the text. It may or may not surprise you to learn that this book has a Lexile level of 590L and an ATOS level of 3.9. The Lexile is in the 420L-820L band meaning it is at a 2nd to 3rd grade reading level. Yet, the novel is intended for 7-12th grade students. This contradiction is why I appreciate the way the Common Core determines the complexity of a text.

While the graphics and package may be new. This is not new information to skilled teachers and librarians.

Choosing a text for a reader is more complex than simply matching it to a reader’s level (quantitative). There are three, equally important, factors to consider when choosing a book. The quantitative measure is often connected to computer measurements of readability and provides a number for the text (ex; Lexile, Atos). The qualitative measure is all about the meaning, structure, conventionality, clarity, and knowledge demands. Qualitative measures are best made by human readers (ex: intended audience is 7-12th grade). Finally, the reader and task considerations are all about the background knowledge of the reader, the motivations, interests, and complexity generated by tasks assigned. This measurement is best made by educators and librarians. Putting all these factors together is what makes for great book recommendations.

Head on over to the Teaching Books site ( to see if you’ve got access to this quality resource (and if not, try out the free trial).

Additionally, here are a few extra resources related to The Hate U Give:

Your librarian,

Katelyn Martens-Rodriguez