Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Valerie Leftman and her boyfriend Nick totally get each other. They are picked on relentlessly by their classmates, so they make a list of them called the Hate List. On May second, Nick pulled out a gun and started shooting. Val is shot trying to save Jessica, one of the biggest bullies she was forced to deal with on a day to day basis. After accidentally shooting his girlfriend, Nick turns the gun on himself and takes his own life. Now, five months after the shooting, Val is left to deal with the aftermath of Nick's actions. In a world where almost everyone, including Val's own parents, blames her for what happened, she must deal with her guilt for the list, hatred from her classmates, and a lingering love for the boyfriend she lost in order to move on.

The topic of this book was a pretty hard one to read about. Don't get me wrong, this was a great book. Everyone needs to read something that isn't all butterflies and rainbows every once in a while. This book deals with the hard issues of bullying, school shootings, guilt, and suicide really beautifully and with some tough truths. Hate List teaches that if a person is pushed too hard, they can snap, so don't push anyone that hard. In other words, watch what you say because everyone has feelings. I love that the book deals with these things in such a non-preachy way.

There are some fun characters and funny parts in Hate List. For example, Dr. Hieler, Val's therapist, is a really cool and pretty hilarious guy. His dialogue is always snappy and fun to read.

Val has flashbacks of her life with Nick before the shooting in the book. You can really tell that they loved each other and that he was a good, albeit troubled, guy who thought he was doing the right thing.

Now,I don't mean to brag, but I'm usually pretty good at guessing the endings of books, mostly because I've read a lot of them. Hate List, however, had be stumped. I knew that she would somehow come to terms and move on with her life; I just didn't know how. You know me, no spoilers. I was really pleased with the end, though, and I don't say that very often.

I would definitely recommend this novel, especially if you're looking for something on the more serious side. Hate List is surprising and real. It was a really great debut novel from an author that we are sure to read more awesome things from.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Hey guys! Sorry about my lack of book review this week. One is coming-I promise! It will most likely be about Hate List by Jennifer Brown.

I am SUPER excited this weekend! Wanna know why? Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince opened and I'm going to go see it, that's why! Yay times one million!

Also, my best friend Mary Beth has joined the blogosphere! You must, must, must check her out at . She is super awesome and has great taste in books (in my completely best-friend biased opinion). I expect awesomeness from her!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Okay, this review has no spoilers (unless you haven't read The Hunger Games). I know, I know, but sorry, that's just not how I roll.

Basically in the first book, Katniss Everdeen is forced to play the Hunger Games, and she pretends to be in love with Peeta Mellark (a boy from her own district) in order to win. That majorly pisses off the Capitol officials, who basically control everyone and everything, but but they allow Katniss and Peeta to live (for now, anyway).

Now, in Catching Fire, Katniss and Peeta must go on a tour through all of the districts (where the families of the people they killed live) and deal with their deception of the Capitol. They begin to notice signs of an uprising, for which they are the poster children. Katniss must also choose between Peeta, her fake lover who also helped keep her alive, or Gale, the childhood friend who she has surprising feelings for. The only problem? People from the Capitol expect Katniss and Peeta to be in love and happy together, and officials will go to extreme measures to make sure they stay that way. Also, a twist that no one expected is just around the corner...

Let me just take a minute to say that I am a huge fan of The Hunger Games, and I was a little wary of it's sequel. Would it live up to the original? Would it turn into a "who will she choose" series? Would I like it as much? How many more questions could I ask myself before I became delusional (Answer: a lot)? There are so many literary sequels that flop, and i crossed my fingers and bit my nails for this one to not be like that. I shouldn't have worried. Not one bit.

First of all, I'm really glad that this didn't turn into one of those which boy will she choose novels, because it totally could have. Sure, there was some romance, but what young adult fiction book doesn't have romance (Answer: none)? The love aspect didn't overshadow the big picture. On the other hand, you get to see just how vile the capitol really is. They do some pretty sick stuff (let's just say that the officials there don't have a problem with killing people who oppose them in front of others to make an example of it-and believe me, there are a lot of things to oppose). There were also a lot of really cool twists (one big thing in particular, but, as I said, I don't do spoilers). This is definitely one of the biggest must reads of the year. Catching Fire is a sequel that won't disappoint fans of the first and will leave you hungry (get it? Okay, sorry, bad joke) for more.