The Hate U Give (The Hate U Give #1) by Angie Thomas, Bahni Turpin (Narrator)

Published February 28th 2017 by Balzer + Bray, Harperaudio

5 Stars:⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My thoughts: Wow, this was a wonderful book. It is definitely one that everyone needs to read to help them understand what the Black Lives Matter movement is all about. My heart broke for Starr as she tried to straddle her life in two very different settings. She was torn and felt she couldn’t be herself in either place. What this sixteen year old had to deal with would have caused others her age to buckle. I understand her father’s desire to raise his family in the old neighbourhood, to not pack up and move away, to show that he was willing to stay and try to change things. I also understand her mother’s feeling and desire to move somewhere safer. There was a lot in this book to make me think, to help me understand and to make me cry. A very emotional read that I definitely recommend to everyone. The narrator Bahni Turpin is new to me, but I will definitely not hesitate to listen to again. The emotions that she added to this story made me feel it even more. She gave the characters recognizable voices, both male and female. If you can listen to this one rather than read it, I definitely recommend it.

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The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, Narrated by Colson Whitehead and J.D. Jackson

Published July 16th 2019 by Doubleday Books, Random House Audio

5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

My Thoughts:

Set in Tallahassee, Florida in the 1960’s we find Elwood a young black boy with big plans. He believes in the words of Martin Luther King, that change is coming soon, but not soon enough for Elwood. When he is found in the wrong place, at the wrong time, by a police officer, he is sentenced to time at The Nickel Academy, modeled after the real life Dozer Institution, a reform school. At this school, Elwood figures he will keep his nose clean and be released quickly to get back to his life and plan for his future. That idealistic view does not last long.

Amid rampant racism, abuse, neglect and ignorance, the many boys on the colored side of the school have to scrabble to survive. This is a difficult book to read. Not because of the writing but because the subject is terrible. What happens to the boys in this school is hard to process and understand. How people can be so cruel to other human beings, even if they didn’t participate they knew it was happening and did nothing. The chapters alternate between the present and the past. The present shows how Elwood is now living and that his life is nothing like he had imagined or strived for years earlier. The past is not described to graphically, but the sense of what is happening is there and brought on the feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach. As I mentioned earlier, the setting is based on a real place, the story based on a compilation of events that happened all over the south. Living during the Jim Crowe era was awful, free?? I think not?? This is another of those books that I recommend to everyone.