Hate by Alan Gibbons - review

Hate is everywhere. It poisons societies, people and lives. People today are hated for the most bizarre of reasons. Hated because of the colour of their skin. Hated because of the choices they make. Hated because they were born differently abled.

We live in a world that preaches acceptance and embracing differences on one side, and mocks, ostracizes and hurts people who don't match up to society's standards of normal on the other side. There have been deaths, violent incidents of bullying and lives ruined. We say we support equal rights and acceptance, but when we see homophobia and discrimination in our daily lives, how many of us would be able to stand up and be bold enough to say stop? One author has been able to do this. To not just write about homophobia openly, but also say that enough is enough, that it's time to end the hate.

A girl and her partner are murdered one dark night in a dark park, for wearing dark clothes. Their killers didn't care who they were. According to them, the way they dressed and looked was all wrong and it had to be stamped out. Six months later, Anthony, who witnessed the murder, meets Eve Lancaster; sister to Rosie. The same Rosie he could've saved. What he witnessed that night, the taunting, the mockery and the cold-blooded murder, refuses to fade away. It haunts him because he didn't step up and do anything back then. He didn't yell stop or even bother to call the ambulance. Eve is bitter and full of hatred. She hates the people that killed Rosie. She hates Anthony for not doing anything. Most of all, she hates people who hate.

When Eve's best friend Jess confides in her that her gay brother wants to come out, she fears that what happened to Rosie might just repeat. When Anthony finds out, he's scared. Scared as to whether he should get involved this time. Moreover, he's scared as to whether he has it in him to join the fight against homophobia and bring a boy the justice, he wasn't able to bring Rosie.

Hate is passionate, tragic and powerful. It's a remarkably narrated account of a sensitive and controversial topic; that absolutely has to be read by every teenager who has faced discrimination or bullying for the life choices they make.

Very few authors would have the expertise to so beautifully capture such difficult emotions without making the novel an explicit one. With the background being a typical high-school setting, the emotions, controversy and drama that arises is something that every teenager can understand; and this understanding is the key to acceptance.

In a world full of political-correctness and hate, it's hard to speak up about issues such as these. Alan Gibbons has effectively communicated this phenomenally important message through the tale he tells using Eve, Anthony and Rosie.

This novel is a true story, inspired by the murder of Sophie Lancaster. It truly brings the justice that Sophie, and all other victims of hate crimes, dearly deserve.

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