Angie Thomas Just Made An Important Point About Why 'THUG' Shouldn't Be Banned

Angie Thomas, photo courtesy of Anissa Hidouk; Angie Thomas/Twitter
By Kerri Jarema

If you've been paying attention to publishing at all this year, you'll have heard of Angie Thomas's celebrated debut YA novel, The Hate U Give. Not only has the book been on the New York Times bestseller list since it was published in February 2017, it has since garnered multiple award nominations and wins— including a spot on the 2017 National Book Award longlist and two 2017 Goodreads Choice Awards. But the book has not been without controversy. From fan backlash about the casting of the upcoming film version to the alleged banning of The Hate U Give by a Texas school district just last week, Thomas's story of one girl and her community's experience with police brutality has made some of the biggest waves in pop culture this year.

But when it comes to the backlash against her book, Thomas is not afraid to clap back. In particular, Thomas has taken to Twitter to express some thoughts about her book being removed from shelves in Katy, Texas. Though many were convinced that Thomas's frank discussion of race and police brutality had a lot to do with the book's banning, early reports claimed that the book was pulled and put under review due to parents' complaints over inappropriate language. It's certainly a weak argument against a book that has proven to be as crucial as Thomas's, and it seems that the author agrees.

On December 12, Thomas sent out the tweet reiterating some facts about the language in her book that she had shared only that day, during a radio interview. And if you aren't ready to shout "Yaas Queen" after reading it, well, you're doing it so wrong.

The tweet breaks down the number of times curse words are used throughout the novel—a grand total of 393 words in the entire 444 page hardcover edition—compared to the 926 people who have been killed by police in the U.S. this year alone. Thomas adds, "I hope people would be bothered more by that last number when they read my book."

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, $10, Amazon

It's the sort of brilliant response we've come to expect from Thomas to her detractors; filled with the sort of grace and bravery that fills the pages of The Hate U Give. Because a book that has done so much to bring the realities racism and police brutality to teen readers, through characters that they can relate to, is far more important than a comparatively small amount of "inappropriate" words scattered throughout. Let's hope that this only leads to more readers for this historic YA novel.