About the Book

Book Protagonist: Starr Carter
Publication Date: 2015
Genre: Coming of Age, Teen and Young Adult


The Hate U Give

By Angie Thomas

'The Hate U Give' features a lot of awesome characters that bring the story to life. They also represented some of the characters seen in human beings.

The Hate U Give‘ featured a lot of awesome characters who brought the story to life. Angie Thomas’s characters in ‘The Hate U Give’ are a fine mix of both good and bad.

They represent human desire, strength, and weakness. They were engaging and thought-provoking. Here are some of them.

The Hate U Give Characters


Starr Carter is the sixteen-year-old protagonist of the book and lives in a poor, mostly black neighborhood. Garden Heights, where she lives, is ridden with gang activity and drugs, and violence. She and her siblings attend a majorly white, private prep school across town called Williamson Prep. This makes her live and move between two worlds – her neighborhood in Garden Heights and the white privilege of Williamson Prep. Starr’s journey throughout the book is to learn to trust and embrace her authentic self as she becomes an activist seeking justice for her friend’s wrongful murder.

Starr is smart, driven, and ashamed of her background in Garden Heights at the novel’s beginning. Starr is the sole witness to the unprovoked shooting of Khalil at the hands of a White police officer. In a courageous move, Starr testifies against the officer and speaks up for justice in the face of opposition. The opposition was coming from both the local authorities, who take the side of the police officer and the King Lords gang, whom she angers in a television interview. Ultimately, she accepts her background in Garden Heights and vows to keep speaking up for justice.


Maverick Carter is the typical African American man who is working hard to better his community. Maverick ran with the King Lords until he went to prison after growing up with his father who was a gang leader. After his prison time, Maverick changed and became a better person, turned into a good father, and helped his neighborhood. He takes care of DeVante and protects him from the King. After being unsure about moving out of Garden Heights, Maverick finally decides that caring about what happens in an area is more important than not living in an area.


Chris Bryant is honest and open-minded and a great example of a white friend in the African American cause. Though he remains clueless about a lot of things, he is a big fan of African American culture and tries his best to understand their perspective. Starr feels like her relationship with Chris might not work because he is from a very rich family, so their worlds are too apart and very different, and she has trouble being her real self when she is around him. He is good, too, as he did not take advantage of Starr’s vulnerability.


Hailey Grant is a typical unexamined white privileged person who is highly opinionated and sheltered. Starr and Hailey got together after they both lost someone. Hailey lost her mom to cancer, and Starr lost Natasha to gun violence, and this created a bond between them. However, because Hailey has the habit of saying racist things and refusing to apologize, their friendship has to end. 


Maverick felt he failed Khalil, and so sought another opportunity to help an African American youth. He found that opportunity with Devante who he helped after Devante came to him running from King; DeVante steals money from drug lord King, to get his mother and sisters to safety after the death of his brother at a spring break party. He ran away from King, and uncle Carlos took him in. In support of the neighborhood, DeVante later agrees to testify against King.


One-Fifteen becomes a symbol of both police brutality against African American people and white savior. His father claims that he chose to work in Garden Heights because he wanted to make it a better place. However, he made it worse by racial profiling and harassing teens. Starr refuses to call him by his name and prefers calling him One-Fifteen, just so she doesn’t humanize him after he kills Khalil.

His real name is Officer Brian Cruise Jr., but Starr prefers to call him by his badge number, One-Fifteen. It was him who pulled Khalil and Start over after they left the party and shot Khalil three times, killing him, and later claims to have mistaken Khalil’s hairbrush for a gun. 

Uncle Carlos

Uncle Carlos is Starr’s uncle and a cop who helped raise Starr while Maverick was in prison. 


Iesha is Kenya and Seven’s mother. She is often abused by King but she takes it all in because she wants to protect her kids.


Kenya is Seven’s stepsister and Starr’s childhood friend in Garden Heights. Kenya feels that Starr is shamefaced towards her and their neighborhood. She attends a Garden Heights house party with her at the beginning of the book. Both stayed in touch after Starr left for Williamson Prep because they have a brother together called Seven. Seven shares the same father with Starr and the same mother with Kenya. 


Brenda is Khalil’s mother. She is a drug addict.


Khalil Harris is Starr’s childhood crush and friend who was shot and killed by One-Fifteen. Starr was feeling out of place at a house party in Garden Heights when she runs into Khalil, a childhood friend with whom she shared her first kiss a few years prior. Pleased to see Khalil, they leave the party together when they hear gunshots. A police officer pulls him over and shoots him when he moves to check on Starr, which leads to his death.

When the news of Khalil’s death breaks, the police, news stations, and students at Starr’s school twist the story and present Khalil in an unsympathetic light as a known drug dealer. During his funeral, King places a grey bandana on his casket, to show that he was a member of the King Lords. Starr later learns that Khalil only sold drugs to help his mother with her debt. She also learned that King claimed Khalil was his gang member because he was embarrassed that Khalil refused his invitation to join. 


Seven Carter is Starr’s older half-brother and Kenya’s half-brother. He is protective of all his family members. He attends Williamson Prep with Starr but lives majorly with Iesha, his mother. He does this so that he can help and protect his mother and his sisters from the abuse of King, Iesha’s boyfriend and the leader of the King Lords gang. 

Mr Lewis

Mr. Lewis is an African American shop owner in Garden Heights who snitches on King on live television and gets beaten up by the King Lords.


Maya is Starr’s friend at Williamson Prep. Her family is of Chinese heritage.


Did Starr have a crush on Khalil?

Yes, Starr, the protagonist of the novel, had a crush on her childhood friend, Khalil. Her mum knew about it and assures her that it is okay to be attracted to two people at a time. This was revealed when Lisa comforted her after Khalil’s death. Starr is ashamed of this revelation because she’s dating Chris.

Who is Kenya?

Kenya is the daughter of King and Iesha and is also Seven’s half-sister. She is a very pretty girl whom Starr says can be a model because of her beauty. Kenya was quite close to Staar in the book, one of the people to do so in Garden Heights. She also has a very big, flamboyant personality with a love of drama.

Why is Chris upset with Starr at prom?

On the night of the prom, Chris was angry at Starr because she did not tell him she was the witness to the shooting of Khalil. All this time, Starr was confused and scared about what had happened. And she wasn’t sure if she should tell people about it. 

Why did Khalil sell drugs?

Khalil began dealing drugs because of his family’s poverty. This came about as a result of the lack of opportunities his family had and his mother’s addiction to drugs. After the officer shoots Khalil, Khalil’s drug dealing becomes the justification for his death.

Why does Starr have two identities?

Starr had two identities in the novel The Hate U Give because she needed to blend in into her world. Her first world is her neighborhood, Garden height, while the second one is her school world, which is mostly populated by whites. At home, she behaves like one from the hood, but at school, she is different. 

Ugo Juliet
About Ugo Juliet
Ugo Juliet is a passionate lover of books. For over 10 years, she has written books and articles for various organizations. She continues with her passion for literature as an expert analyst on Book Analysis.
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