The Hate U Give: Book and Movie Comparison

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and Tupac’s motto “THUGLIFE”, The Hate U Give is a story written by Angie Thomas. It depicts the life of a young teenage girl, Starr, trying to balance the two worlds in which she lives- the upscale prep school she attends in the suburbs, and impoverished, predominantly black neighborhood of Garden Heights in which she lives. As she navigates gaining acceptance from these contrasting environments, her life turns upside down after witnessing the police shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil.The cop who killed her best friend is not indicted and this unfortunate incident receives national attention. As the only witness to the shooting, Starr has to deal with the multiple forces trying to intimidate and sway the nuances of the incident in their favor as she seeks justice for her friend. 

The Hate U Give was published in February of 2017. It is an important and timely story that although fiction, accurately depicts what is going on in our country today. The book was very successful, debuting at number one on the New York Times young adult best-sellers list for 50 weeks. In October 2018, the book was adapted into a film. While similar, there are some key differences between the book and movie version of the story.  

Devante is a character who plays a huge role in the book but is excluded from the movie. In the book Devante was a member of the King Lords Gang. He joined the gang to help out his family.  Devante realized that wasn’t the life he wanted to live and searched for a way out.He wanted to hide from the leader of the gang, King, and asked for help from Mav, Starr’s father. Mav eventually agreed to help him out. Devante went to live with another character who played a role in both the movie and book, Starr’s uncle Carlos, a police officer. Devante revealed that Khalil was never in a gang which was the perception and also eventually agrees to be a witness against King to try to help the community.Although Devante was left out of the movie, there were some slight similarities from his role in the book and that of Starr’s brother Seven in the movie. 

Other characters that had a more significant role in the book compared to the movie are Mr. Lewis, the owner of the Barbershop, Starr’s best friends, Maya and Hailee, and Starr’s uncle, Carlos. In the book, Mr. Lewis was outspoken as protests grew after Khalil was killed. He was not afraid to express his disgust for the gang activity ruining his community and even called out character King as a drug dealer and gang leader. He was a part of the confrontation between the police and Mav, and later in the book is beaten up by King’s gang. On the other hand, there aren’t many scenes involving Mr. Lewis in the movie. Maya and Hailee are more direct with Starr during their interactions in the book. In addition to his interaction with Devante, in the book, Uncle Carlos’s relationship with Starr is significant. When Starr’s father Mav was in jail, he was a huge influence in her life. Carlos and Starr had a very close bond in the book, as compared to the movie where they did not.

Mattia Ascenzo via Unsplash

In the movie, the opening scene is a flashback. Mav explains to a young Starr and her brother Seven what to do if they get pulled over by a police officer.  This lesson is taught later in the book. Incorporating this scene at the beginning of the movie seems to provide context for what’s to come and works well in the movie to set the stage for the plot, conflict, and themes of the story.  

Starr’s close relationship with Khalil is highlighted in both the book and the movie. However, in the movie, on the night he was killed, Khalil and Starr kiss, providing a romantic chemistry between them that was not in the book.  Also in the movie, the reason Khalil is shot is similar but different.  In the book, he is shot because he appears to have a gun in his car which is actually a hairbrush.  In the movie, he reaches for a hairbrush which is mistaken for a gun. 

The final standoff between Mav, King, and the Police as portrayed in the movie is profound.  King sets fire to Mav’s store and the situation is intense.  As the crowd gathers, police show up, and an argument between Mav and King ensues.  In all of the commotion, Starr’s little brother, Sekani takes his father’s gun and points it at King.  The police then point their guns at Sekani and everyone tries to calm down the situation.  Starr moves in front of her brother with her hands up in an effort to protect him.  This scene never plays out in the book.

The book and movie adaptation of The Hate U Give are both powerful. It is an emotional depiction but a good one.  Despite the differences, I feel that the movie did a good job of representing the original message of the book.   The movie had to maintain a PG-13 rating which is most likely the reason for the various changes. I would definitely recommend you read or watch the Hate U Give, but I preferred the movie to the book. I really liked the addition of the opening scene because of how it not only foreshadows the future events of the movie, but because it points out the fear that African americans have because of police brutality, and racial injustice within the system. I additionally enjoyed the profound message that was created by Sekani pointing the gun in the ending scene. It portrayed very well how violence and hate in the world does affect children. Although I did like Devante’s character and role in the book, the movie was still excellent and able to maintain the message of the book without him. 



Pierre, Mekishana. “The Hate U Give Film Is a Faithful Retelling of the Novel With a Few Key Differences.” POPSUGAR Entertainment, 21 Oct. 2018,

Parry, Lucy. “Does ‘The Hate U Give’ Movie Do The Book Justice?” Arts + Culture, 28 Oct. 2018,

Fletcher, Rosie. “The Hate U Give: Differences Between the Book and the Movie.” Den of Geek, 23 Oct. 2018,