New book club meets to watch and discuss “The Hate U Give”


The school’s new book club discusses the book version of “The Hate U Give”. The club has met twice already, and plans to meet again on November 8.

English teachers Mr. David Peters and Ms. Jennifer Bruesewitz have brought a new opportunity for discussion to the school. The two have formed a book club that will invite students to read various books, including “The Hate U Give”. The release of the movie “The Hate U Give”, a film adaptation of the young adult novel of the same name, has sparked controversy nationwide. According to the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom, the book is one of the top ten most challenged and banned books in 2017. The club met for the second time on October 16 in the library during General’s Period (GP).

“The Hate U Give” is about an African American teenage girl, Starr, who witnesses a police shooting against her friend, Khalil, an unarmed African American boy. It follows her struggle to give Khalil justice among racist friends, the pressure of the press and her neighborhood’s protests and riots. The story illustrates racism and the tension between African American neighborhoods and the police, making it potentially controversial for teens to read. However, the book club agreed it was more an important issue than a controversial one for students.

“This is something that’s happening,” freshman Jused Daza said. “I know adults try to protect us from stuff, but it’s important we know what’s going on now. We need to be able to read things like that.”

Students were given copies of the book by the teachers, and they discussed their readings during the club meeting. It was originally planned that the principal and the administration team were to be included in the conversation.

“I am also reading the book, and I helped them purchase the copies of additional books for the students in the club to read,” Principal Dr. Gregg Robertson said. “I also hope to go to the movie with the group.”  

The book club has began last year, except without students.

We started Generals Read last year for teachers to share what they were reading,” Ms. Bruesewitz said. “Every month, a teacher with an updated sign was entered in a drawing.  The winning teacher got a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card and gave a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card to a student they’ve seen reading or talked to about the book. This year, we wanted to get the students involved.”

Enthusiasm for “The Hate U Give” has spread beyond this club. The RISE (Remedial Independent Self-Paced Education) class is reading the book alongside the book club, and plans to see the movie with them on November 8.

Discussions about the book focused on the protagonist’s struggle and how they related to students’ experiences, as well as their favorite parts of the book and whether the characters were realistic. Then, the conversation went to what parts should be included in the movie.

“[My favorite scene in the book was] the last part of the book, during a protest, where Starr holds tear gas [thrown by the police] and throws it back at them,” Daza said. “She wasn’t afraid of taking a bullet. That’s what they need to include in the movie.”

The club is not sure what book they will be reading for the second semester, but plans to let students weigh in. More copies of the book are available for students who wish to join. Students can find out more about the club from their English teacher or posters around the school.

“We just want hear what people think about the book,” Ms. Brusewitz said. “It’s not like an English class where you take notes, it’s just talking about the text.”