by Jennifer Brown
Five months ago, Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saves the life of a classmate, but is implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things they hated. The list her boyfriend 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.
Hate List was an inspiring and sometimes emotionally rocky book to read. One minute you felt terrible for Valerie and the next you couldn’t help but hate her guts too. As you venture with her to the depths of her conscience and felt how she felt- about the shootings, about Nick, about the people who died and the girl whose life she saved- you somehow feel the urge to do something good in your life. It is a very uplifting novel with a lot of hard facts and tragic lessons.
Valerie is a new favorite character of mine, in some ways she reminds me of Melinda Sordino from Speak. After she comes back to school following the shooting, she finds her self even more alienated and even feared. Her pain is easy to see and the feeling of loss are understandable. Even though Nick was a killer, he was still her boyfriend and i also felt that Nick really did blind side her with the whole shooting thing. The inner emotional and moral battle she is fighting really tears the reader apart and you can relate to her loneliness and feeling of abandonment. The only character i didn't understand in this book was her dad. Seriously (and excuse my french here) he was an asshole! The wasy he treated her and blamed her for everything, really made me angry. Jessica, the girl whose life she saved, was really interesting. I really appreciated her willingness to change and you could totally applaud her for her efforts!
Hate List was utterly fantastic and very scary. It's similarities to the Columbine High School tradgedy will definitly strike a cord with any reader, especially teens. Lately, i've been reading alot of fantasy books, so Hate List was an excellent break from the paranormal and very real. Go out and ge it as soon as possible!