Monday, October 5, 2009

Review by Alex- Hate List

Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he 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.

First Impressions: Hate List sounds so interesting! School shootings are always a tough subject to tackle, and I loved the idea of the point of view. Also, Hate List had gotten some stunning reviews.

And here's another one for you. ;)

Hate List mixes the present beginning of school to the past May's shooting. There are also newspaper articles at the beginning of different chapters pertaining to the shooting and what happened that fateful day. It's a really effective way of writing, giving all the necessary information while keeping suspense.

Val is a wonderful character- confused and sad, scared to go back to school. Her boyfriend did, after all, shoot and kill/seriously injure many students and adults in the school that one day, including her and himself. So Val's dealing with losing Nick and her friends, her shot leg, going back to school, and a huge amount of guilt. Luckily, she has an awesome psychiatric (right? Or is it therapist? Or psychologist?) to help her, and occasionally helpful parents. It's a heavy load to deal with, and Val's certainly a sympathetic character.

The secondary characters are all unique and distinct, although I wish we could learn more about them. Jessica, the Queen Bee of the school, who Val saved in the shooting, plays an important part in the novel, but remains a bit of a mystery. She befriends Val and includes her, but sometimes she didn't seem quite whole. I couldn't always understand her reasoning. Going onto other characters, Val's parents are very lacking as people. Her mom is trying her best, but her dad... is horrible. I'd put him almost on par with Terra's dad in North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley.

The emotions Hate List evokes are strong and uncontrollable. Hate List is so poweful, it resonates. I will admit I weeped in the later half of the novel. It's just that emotional.

Final Impressions: Wow. Just wow. I seriously recommend people reading Hate List, although I'd warn having a box of tissues at hand is necessary. Jennifer Brown is certainly one author to look out for!

Add To Shelf: Yes! I'm plotting someway to get my hands on owning Hate List, as I was reading a copy from the library. You should buy this- it's worth it.

Note This! Val's an artist. She conveys her emotions in drawings and caricatures. She also meets a certain strange lady who pushes Val to explore and express her abilities more. Yay to art!


  1. Great review Alex! I thought this book was amazing. I was hooked from page one, and was so drawn into Val's story that it was impossible to put it down.

  2. I have this book and can't wait to start reading it. thanks for the great review :)

  3. Great review. Sounds like a stunning book. I'll look out for this one next time I'm shopping.

  4. I adored this book. I thought it so well written, the characters believable and compelling and the story realistic and educational. Brown did a phenomenal job with it and I will read any of her work going forward.

  5. Great review! Going to need some tissues if Iám going to read it. :) Thanx for the tip.
    The book does sound great and I like the cover aswell.

  6. I have this one on my wish list! :) So glad to hear it was a good 'un.


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