There are many indications that The Hate U Give takes place in the 2010’s, probably around 2016-2017. First of all, it contains a large number of references to real-life pop culture from this period. For example, we know that Starr and her friends grew up watching the Harry Potter movies, which were released between 2001 and 2011. The novel also references social media such as Facebook and Tumblr, and smartphones appear often.
Furthermore, the novel includes references to the Black Lives Matter movement (founded in 2013), and in the final chapter Starr even mentions a number of real-life police killings of African Americans. The final name on this list is Philando, which is probably a reference to Philando Castile, an African American man who was killed by the police in June 2016. This places the novel’s time setting somewhere after this point - perhaps in 2017 when the novel was released.
The novel’s physical setting alternates between Starr’s home neighborhood of Garden Heights and the wealthy area in and around the Williamson high school. This often highlights the extreme differences between the two areas. Though both areas are fictional, they are meant to represent similar divisions in actual US cities.
Towards the end o...