Tag Archives: The Hate U Give

Challenge Update, September 2018

1 Oct

It’s not been a great month for reading, that’s to be sure. But it hasn’t been bad, either. I think I’m setting myself up for a good October. There’s some positive thinking. It’s a rebuilding month. You can look at my progress at any time on my challenge page.

Books finished in September:

The Hate U Give // Angie Thomas
The World We Found // Thrity Umrigar
The Lowland // Jhumpa Lahiri
The Children’s Home // Charles Lambert

It’s been a bad spell of slow months of reading. I have a few half-read books now and I’ll be happy if I can get to them soon and consider them finished. Like I said, I’m building to an awesome October. It’s been a bit too slow, though. I’m worried about making my reading goal for the year.

When Are You Reading? Challenge

7/12
I hate having to say I’ve made no progress again. I’m in the middle of two books that will count toward this challenge. I’ve got the last two picked out, too. I really do feel I’m making progress on this one even though the numbers don’t show it.

Goodreads Challenge

35/55
Six books behind. I’m starting to feel like I’m drowning in this one! Finishing more than a book a week is a tall order and I’m not living up to it. I think shorter books are in order but I really like long-winded writers.

Book of the Month

Another win for a book club selection. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was amazing and is a clear winner for Book of the Month for September.

Added to my TBR

Down one is still down so I’ll take it. I’m at 88 for this month. Safely under 100 and inching down. It’s slow, but it’s happening. And I only added one this month, but it was one I had to add.

  • Lethal White (Cormoran Strike #4) by Robert Galbraith. If anyone thought I wouldn’t add this, you’re silly. I’m a huge Rowling fan, even when she’s Galbraith. I’ll probably do the audiobook of this again as the rest of the series has been incredible.

Personal Challenge

I used these monthly posts to keep myself accountable to my personal goals for 2017 and I’m excited to do that again this year. You all were so supportive before.

  • Graduate and keep my 4.0- So far so good in class. I’ve gotten a few grades back and I’ve only lost one point so far. Woo!
  • Travel to Europe with my husband- Not only done but my photo frame is up as well. Check it out!

View this post on Instagram

Photo frame done! #europetravel

A post shared by Sam Ann Elizabeth (@samannelizabeth) on

  • Complete a 2018 Weather Blanket- Falling behind again so I can make an epic comeback when it gets cold and knitting is a bigger comfort.

How are your challenges going so far? I hope you’re off to a good start If you love historical fiction, give some thought to my challenge for 2018, it’s fun!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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Book Club Reflection: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

17 Sep

It was a long summer without my book club but we had an amazing book to gather around last week as we discussed The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. We all liked the book and felt it was important, even when some people found fault in the characters and plot. For a YA novel, it was sophisticated and a bit dark. We pondered that if it had been any darker and if the ending hadn’t had its happy elements, it might have been too much for a YA audience. As it is, the book teaches good lessons to readers of any age. One member compared it to Sherman Alexie’s Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian or the movie Lady Bird (which I’m still dying to see!).

One of the complaints from our group was that there was too much content. There were a lot of characters and some of them were very static and seemed more like a representative of a stereotype or ideology. They could have been cut out to simplify the plot a bit. However, it depends on how you view the book. If the book is about Khalil’s death, most characters are superfluous. However, if it’s a biography of Starr, many of the characters were needed because they affected her views and perspective. Still, some could have been combined or simplified.

Another complaint was that some things were too perfect. Starr’s parents were too perfect, busting King was too perfect, and Williamson was too perfect. The Carters may have had difficult pasts but their current situation as almost ideal. They were also nearly perfect parents and always did and said the right things. (This isn’t one I picked up on while reading.) Busting King and getting everyone to snitch at the same time seemed unreal. We felt that the individuals would have been worried about other King Lords trying to get revenge and it was too good for Starr’s story that her father’s store burning down pushed everyone over the edge. Williamson and the suburbs were idealized and almost too perfect while Garden Heights felt too stereotypical of a ‘ghetto’ neighborhood.

Our amazing group moderator found an NPR interview with Thomas. She talked about the inspiration for this book coming from her experience at a liberal arts college during the Oscar Grant shooting and how she felt like Starr does at Williamson. She spoke about the inspiration for Uncle Carlos as well. While the white officer, 115, is shown in a clearly bad light, Thomas wanted to make sure there was an officer in a positive light. She had a cousin that was a cop and he was the one to give her the talk about how to act around police officers.

She also addressed Chris. Thomas says she’s asked frequently why Starr is dating a white boy. Some of us thought his character was unnecessary in the story but Thomas wanted to show him as an ally. He contrasts well with Hailey. I found him very relatable at the end when he was uncomfortable at the protest even though he wanted to be there and believed in the cause.

This book made for a great discussion and I’m so glad our library supported us reading it! Talking about it helped me appreciate it even more.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 12-September-2018

12 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’ve got to be close to getting Bel Canto by Ann Patchett back! I’m determined that it will line up perfectly with me finishing The World We Found. Determined.
I’m getting really close to finishing The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar and it’s getting really good! I’m running out of warm days to eat outside and read it but I’m still able to enjoy it at lunch. Fingers crossed I wrap this one up soon!
I’ll be running a lot more and focusing on The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. It’s really enjoyable and I’ve gotten past the highly political section and it’s reminding me more of the other Lahiri book I read and adored.
I’ve gotten deeper into The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl and am starting to enjoy it. The style isn’t my favorite, but I’m liking the plot a bit more as it picks up. I’m hoping I can move forward with this one and I don’t need to put it aside for my next book club pick.
I’m still early on with A Column of Fire by Ken Follett and it already feels very different from the first two in this series. Those focused almost exclusively on the town of Kingsbridge but this one is weaving in the royalty of the time in Paris. It’s very different and I’m curious to see how it all comes together.

Recently finished: Nothing new finished this week. I was able to post my review of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas yesterday so go check that out if you get a chance. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.

Reading Next: My book club’s next pick is The Children’s Home by Charles Lambert. I’m not sure if I’ll do this one as audio or physical yet, TBD based on how finishing my other books is going. I might burn it to a playlist on my phone. It’s either that or putting aside Poe and I’m not sure I want to do that.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (5/5)

11 Sep

I first heard of this book because of its incredible run at the top of the NYT list. Then my sister-in-law posted about it. She lives in Katy, TX which has banned the book in its schools. She got a copy of it and read it and loved it. (Seems a good soul was buying copies and filling the Free Little Libraries with them.) That was enough to get it on my TBR. Then my book club picked it and I had no excuse but to pick it up and read it. I’m so glad I got through it before the movie and while there are so many people to talk about it with.

Cover image via Goodreads

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Summary from Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

I was really blown away by this book. Starr’s life is complicated and Thomas doesn’t narrow it down to just one plot line. She recognizes that there are a lot of things going on in Starr’s life and they’re all impacted by Khalil’s death. I liked how everything ran together and impacted one another though it did mean that a lot was left unfinished when the main plotline wrapped up. The characters were great and I loved how fleshed out the majority of the side characters were. Thomas set a high standard with this as a first novel. I can’t wait to see what she does in the future.

I loved all the characters in this book. Starr is brave but we see that it’s hard for her to be that way all the time. Her family loves her a lot and recognize that they’ve gone through a lot to get to where they are. Their struggles are very real and the people around them are very real. Small details like Lisa’s mother being a retired drama teacher made them all come to life even more and I adored it.

Maya and Seven were my favorite characters. I honestly can’t pick one. Maya was a great balance to Starr. She came from privilege but still dealt with people like Hailey say, the micro-aggressions that end up being very uncomfortable and rude to a minority. I liked that her perspective was worked in. Seven was a really interesting character because of his relationship to Starr, Lisa, Maverick, Kenya, and King. I loved how he protected his sisters and how he had a back-and-forth relationship with Iesha. I adored how much Lisa cared for him and took him into her family. I also loved how strong he was and how smart he was and how the utilized that to stay strong. I had a lot of respect for him and what kind of character it took to be himself.

I felt Chris was the easiest character for me to relate to. He understood the impact of what was happening around him and wanted to help but he didn’t physically fit into the group that was protesting. He was comfortable but uncomfortable at the same time. He experienced the cultural clash that Starr had lived on a daily basis. His perspective amplified how much the Carter kids had to deal with and how bicultural they had become.

Angie Thomas
Image via the National Book Foundation

I thought the opening chapters were really well written, probably the best in the book. I have to imagine that Thomas re-wrote them a number of times and I think she hit gold. Being introduced to Starr and Kenya and learning about Khalil the way we did was great and it delivered a strong punch when he died even though I’d just met his character. I thought it was impactful that we spend a lot of time with Starr in Garden Heights before seeing her in Williamson.

I felt DeVante’s storyline was a bit more than the book needed. I think someone else could have ratted on King without pulling in another character who shadowed Maverick’s path out of the King Lords. It wasn’t that I disliked DaVante’s story, I just thought it was repetitive.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Bahni Turpin. She was incredible. She had a voice or inflection for each character so it was easy to figure out who was talking. The only one I didn’t like was Hailey but I ended up disliking that character so it seemed to fit in the end. I adored the emotion she put into Starr because there were some very emotional scenes for her character. Overall, I think it was one of the better narrations I’ve heard.

This book is very timely and addresses a lot of issues going on in the US now. It made me question the way I look at minorities and challenged me to overcome the stereotypes I hold and question where they come from. Showing how unconscious bias can be deadly and how that can impact a community was really powerful. I think this should be taught in schools and I think the movie that’s about to come out will help spread this powerful message.

Writer’s Takeaway: Thomas did a great job of getting into the head of a 16-year-old girl and making it relatable to someone of a different generation and race. It was great to get her personality with her reactions to her mother and father using colloquialisms that mirror my own thoughts. I think Thomas has an amazing career ahead of her and I’m so excited to see what else she can deliver.

This was an amazing book and one I highly recommend to anyone who’s reading this. Five out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
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‘THE HATE U GIVE’ by Angie Thomas | alwaysandforeverreading
The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas | ReadExerciseRepeat
THE HATE U GIVE by ANGIE THOMAS | Written in Ink Blog
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas | Reviewing Shelf

WWW Wednesday, 5-September-2018

5 Sep

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m still impatiently waiting for Bel Canto by Ann Patchett to come back to me. I’ll have to make a tough call about abandoning my current read for it, but I think it would be worth it. Right?
In the meantime, I’ll try to finish The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar so it won’t be abandoned. It’s a wonderful book but I’ve been enjoying these last warm days by eating outside when I can which means visiting with friends. It’s hard to think of it as a bad thing.
I’ve made some good progress with The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri and I’m enjoying it a lot more now. I’m going to be more focused on running in the coming months as I prepare for a fall half marathon so I should start to work through this one quickly soon.
I’m still early in The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl and it hasn’t quite grabbed me yet. I think it will pick up soon given how the last chapter went but I’m not completely invested just yet.
I started a new audiobook for my car that will stay on this list for quite a while. I decided to pick A Column of Fire by Ken Follett to fulfill the 1500s time period of my When Are You Reading? Challenge. It’s a long one, about 30 hours of audio. I think this will take me well over a month to finish. And that’s if I’m lucky!

Recently finished: I absolutely loved The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. The audiobook was amazingly narrated and the book itself was well written and thought-provoking. I can’t wait to discuss it with my book club. I’m giving this a full Five out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: No plans again this week. I’m not close to finishing any of my current books and I don’t have any book club picks pressing at this time so I’m going to enjoy not knowing what’s going on.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 29-August-2018

29 Aug

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I found out that Bel Canto by Ann Patchett is being turned into a movie soon and now I’m even more eager to finish it up. I hope I get the ebook back soon!
I’ve been making a point of moving forward with The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar so I’ll be done when I get my hold on Bel Canto back. I’m enjoying it a lot and I look forward to seeing where Umrigar goes with these characters.
I find myself making up excuses to drive so I can listen to The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I love this book. These characters remind me of myself as a teenager and talk about a lot of fears and concerns I have about racial relations in the US. I’m glad this book is getting so much attention, it’s very deserved.
I’m enjoying The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri but it’s not what I expected. The last novel I read by her was focused on familial relationships and traditions and this one seems very political so far. I think that will lessen a bit, but the beginning had a very political feel to it. We’ll see how this one goes.
I followed my plans and picked up The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl from my shelf. This one has mixed reviews but I’m being optimistic and I’m excited to cross off the 1800s from my reading challenge list.

Recently finished: I finished Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger on Thursday and I absolutely loved it! My review went up Monday, the same day my book club met to discuss the book. Look out for a few more posts about this one and know it comes with a strong recommendation!

Reading Next: No plans at this time. I’m in the middle of a lot of these books. I think I’ll need an audiobook next in my car. I created a list of books that will get me through the rest of my reading challenge but I haven’t decided which of them to start next.


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 22-August-2018

22 Aug

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: Nothing with Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. I hope I can get this back soon!
I’m making decent progress in The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar considering it’s an ebook and I move through those so slowly. I bet it’s still another month before I finish, though.
I’m in love with Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger. I honestly thought I might have it finished but I’ll say next week now. I might even finish it today!
I adore The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This book is so powerful but so approachable and it’s really making me think. It will be great for our book club discussion and I’m excited to see how the movie adaptation comes out.
I’ve moved surprisingly slowly through The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. I haven’t run as much as I normally do and I’m not cooking as much as I’d like, both of which could explain it. I hope to make some more progress soon because I think it’s about to get interesting.

Recently finished: Nothing new. I saw this coming but it’s always hard not to finish something. I did manage to post my review of Dreams of Joy by Lisa See on Monday.  Please stop by and take a look when you can.

Reading Next: I made some plans for finishing up my challenge this year so I think my next book will be The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl. This will give me my 1800s time period and move me one step closer to finishing!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 15-August-2018

15 Aug

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: Still on hold with Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. I’ll have to see about finding this in another format so I can wrap it up soon.
I’ve made slight progress in The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar. I’m reading it slowly during lunches but while the weather is nice, I’m eating outside with my mom a few times a week which takes away at my reading time. I’m enjoying the story and I hope to get back into it soon.
I was able to start Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger and I’m loving it so far. The writing is lyrical and fun and I’m very interested in the focus family!
I’m so fortunate that I’m the first person at the library to get the audiobook copy of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I’ve had my eye on this one for a while and it was recently picked as my book club selection for September and I’m beyond excited to start reading it.
I started a new book on my phone and this time around it’s The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. I read another of Lahiri’s novels a few years ago and adored it so I’m excited to see what else she’s got!

Recently finished: I finished The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan on Thursday. I’m really excited to have finished another book, especially one I was working on for a while. I enjoyed this in both audio and print forms so that I could keep it up while on vacation. My review went up yesterday. I gave it Three out of Five Stars and I’ll be reviewing the movie tomorrow!
I wrapped up Dreams of Joy by Lisa See on Monday. I’ll tell you a secret. I usually write these the Sunday before just to make sure I have it scheduled and I’m usually 99% correct. This week, I was so far off that I had to re-write this Monday night! It changed so fast. I didn’t think I’d finish this one but I powered through because the end was so good. I’ll have a review up next week. I gave it Four out of Five Stars.

My review for The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver went up on Thursday. This was a big winner for me and I gave it Four out of Five Stars.
I also reviewed The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan on Monday. Many of you saw this on my list for weeks and weeks but it’s thankfully wrapped up and I’m so excited to have moved on! I gave the book Two out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: I’ve just started so many books that I’m really not sure. I think it will be a physical book and I’m leaning toward starting something to help me finish my historical fiction challenge. I’m getting a bit anxious about finishing that. I have the 1500s, 1600s, 1700s, and 1800s to go. I’ve got to start some planning!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!