Monday, February 8, 2010

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Valerie was the one who started the Hate List - a list of people that were mean to her, or who represented those that made her life hell. But it was her boyfriend, Nick, who walked into school one day with a gun and started shooting the people on that list. Several people died and many more were injured, including Valerie, who Nick shot before turning the gun on himself. Many people see Valerie as responsible for the shooting and think she should be punished; even Valerie isn't sure what to think, not anymore.

This was a very difficult book to read. The descriptions of high school cruelty and shooting violence are both graphically, but not extraneously, present; I admit I had dreams while reading this that involved guns and getting shot. It's a hard book to read in different ways - it makes you think about every time you've said things like "I could kill her for this," or "One day he will know what this feels like." Nick is never portrayed as a caricature of a high school terrorist; Valerie has to struggle with having loved (and still loving) someone who could make such a terrible choice - as well as reconcile her own role in what happened. This was a strong book that I was compelled to keep reading; it was hard to believe that this was Jennifer Brown's debut novel.

Find it on Amazon.

Read it with:
Hey Nostradamus by Douglas Coupland
19 Minutes by Jodi Picoult
After by Amy Efaw
Lockdown by Diane Tullson

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