Friday, May 14

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Summary: Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.

My Thoughts: I've been sitting here looking at this page for a while now, trying to come up with the right words for this review. Hate List is like nothing I've ever read before. We are introduced to Valerie and her boyfriend Nick. Valerie is your average high school student; quiet, somewhat dorky, and gets made fun of. Her boyfriend ranks on the same social level as her. This story is told in flashbacks and present time chapters. Nick and Valerie start a hate list, a notebook in which they write peoples names who they do not like or have made fun of them. Its just a simple idea to make themselves feel better. Valerie doesn't think anything serious will have come off it, its just a way to vent off steam.

One day at school Nick shows up. Valerie tells him about a classmate breaking her ipod and Nick goes up to her, pulls out a gun, and starts shooting. As stunned as Valerie is, she jumps in front of another girl (the girl she detests the most) and tells Nick to Stop!! He hurts many students, including Valerie, and then fires the gun on himself.

Valerie is devastated, she never saw this coming. Yes her and Nick talked about suicide, being mad at others, but it was never supposed to be serious. They were "just talking." Valerie has to go back to school the following year and face her demons. She has to graduate and suffer through senior year with everyone looking at her.

This story is amazing. We feel like we are really there experiencing this tragedy. Valerie is shunned, nobody wants anything to do with her, they figure since she was Nick's girlfriend she was in on it and she deserves the same fate he got. Its hard to sum up why this book was so amazing. I was sad because of all the student's deaths, I was just flat out emotional.

If this book is sad, why should I read it? Its the kind of sad that makes you really think about life and whats important. Its not just sad, its also heart-wrenching and you will never see the people who stick by Valerie coming. She does make new friends. You get to see how her family treats her and her therapist. You get to understand Nick a little bit more and realize why he did what he did. As much as I wanted to cry throughout this book its one of those books that even though you know bad things are going to happen, you can't stop yourself from reading.

I recommend this book to anyone who has ever went to high school or lived through any kind of violence at school. Anyone who has been picked on by the bully or has been the bully!

Overall: I loved this one. Yes, it was emotional but it was also really great. The last few pages I did have tears rolling down my cheeks but honestly I'm not sure if they were good or bad tears. Definitely have the Kleenex ready.

Cover: I really like it. I like the black and white aspect of it.

What I'd Give It:


Kathy Martin said...

We just got this in our last HS book order. It looks like something I should take home for the summer. Great review!

Melanie said...

I loved this book, too. Read pretty much straight through the entire thing. It's a tear jerker, for sure, but of the most important kind. If you liked Hate List and haven't read Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, I would highly recommend it.

Sara said...

Whoa very powerful review! I was having a hard time choosing which book to read next, but after this review I'll think I'll pick this one up :D

Cheryl said...

I have heard about this book before and have it on my list of books to read. Great review!

Swimmer said...

Great review I wasn't going to read this but I think I will pick it up!

Emidy @ Une Parole said...

I'm so glad to hear that! I've been meaning to borrow this from my friend. I'm going to read it soon for sure!

Anonymous said...

I just added this to my TBR list. It sounds amazing.

Jamie Kline (Bookerella) said...

This sounds really good! Must read it! I also agree with the above poster as well, Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult is very good also.

Ashley said...

I'm reading this book right now and so far LOVING IT! It's really serious and dark, yet so addicting. Thanks for your review, I'm now looking forward to finishing it.


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