Monday

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Valerie is pretty much your average every day girl. Except for one thing, a couple of months back her boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their busy school cafeteria, killing six and wounding countless others. And worst of all, it wasn't a random shooting, instead he targeted people on the HATE LIST, a list that Valerie herself helped create.

Although it all started off as a joke - creating a list and placing the names of people that were mean or hateful toward Valerie and Nick... little did Valerie know that Nick would go to such an extreme as to target these people and kill them.

I was taken on such a powerful, emotional, turbulent, yet amazing ride on this one. The story is told through Valerie’s point-of-view and you can see how her life was before Nick’s deadly rampage and how she as well as her peers have been affected since that tragic day in May.

Although there are books about school shootings out there, I thought it was refreshing to read about Valerie, who not only is a survivor of the shooting but she was also to blame for her part as the shooter’s girlfriend... otherwise known as, guilty by association. The Hate List that they created - named anyone ranging from the school bully, to a mean teacher, the rude jock, the obnoxious trendsetter, and even to a parent who would not agree to allow one of them to do as they pleased.

Valerie was such a real, honest and relate-able character. Like every other girl her age - she was dealing with self-esteem issues and her situation at home (her parents were going through a rough patch in their marriage) really didn’t help her out any. The Hate List she created seemed , to me, like a way to relieve some of her stress. And although these are people she might have disliked (immensely), I would say hate was too harsh a word, and say she did “hate” them, she definitely didn’t want them killed off. Her boyfriend Nick was the only person she actually felt loved and understood her and with him gone... it just seemed like her world was falling apart.

I liked her sessions with her psychiatrist - these were some very tough questions and scenarios that were discussed in her therapy. There was such great character development (not just Val) but her parents, brother, schoolmates, her therapist, even Nick (who was dead from the start).

Although the book touches on very difficult subject matter, I was hooked from the start. Val’s world was upside down and to read how she was able to grow and mature after such devastation was amazing. This is a fast-paced, emotionally charged, thought-provoking novel that I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend.

7 comments:

Casey said...

it sounds like a really good book, I'm going to add it to my to-read list now!

Michelle said...

I absolutely dored this book. It's in my top five for the year without question. It handled such a delicate subject with great care and gave such realism to it at the same time. Valerie was perfectly conflicted and reserved and her mother the picture of confusion. I wasn't fond of the father and his selfishness but in the end I think it worked for the story.

Loved it.

Terra said...

I've never read any books on this subject before and it's not the sort of thing that I normally would read but this book sounds very good. I'll definitely read this should the opportunity arise. Thank you for the excellent review.

Beth F said...

I've been on the fence with this book, but your review may have tipped the scales. I'll get on waiting list at the library.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Excellent review :)

Jess said...

This was one of my favorite books read so far this year. I'm so glad you liked it as well!

Bunny B said...

I'm glad I have this in my TBR pile. Can't wait to read it :)

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