Thomas, a student in Belhaven University’s creative writing program at the time she came up with the idea for "The Hate U Give" in 2011, originally wrote it as a short story for her senior-year project, but it quickly expanded into a novel-length work.
The title comes from a tattoo worn by Tupac Shakur (the acronym T.H.U.G.).
“What society feeds into youth comes back later and kicks society in the butt,” Thomas explained then title to PW, describing Shakur’s music as having had a profound influence on her. “These kids who are being blamed for their own deaths are still kids.”