The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas
Thomas’s hotly awaited debut, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement and already the subject of a planned film adaptation: believe the hype. The story of Starr Carter, sole witness to her childhood friend’s killing by a white cop during a traffic stop, is a breathless, topical, and heartbreaking take on an issue that trends with horrifying frequency. But it’s also a warm, hilarious look at the life of a family and a neighborhood, rendered with vivid, loving specificity. Her eye for telling detail is true, her dialogue is perfect, and her characters are so concisely drawn you can see every one of them with perfect clarity.