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.

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