Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary
Edition: Hardcover; Library
Page Count: 408
Pub. Date: September 1, 2009
Reading Challenge: 2010 YA + 2010 Support Your Local Library
My Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
Amazon.com: 5 stars
Goodreads: 4.23 (Average)
Recommended For: Everyone.
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.
The first word that escaped my lips the moment I finished Hate List was: "Wow." How do you sum up a book as powerful as this? It was like the words were living, breathing, and Valerie's pain was real. Truly an amazing novel from start to finish.
Hate List is an emotionally charged novel that tugs at your heart strings. Valerie, at a loss for how to move on with her life after the shooting, is constantly at war with herself, her family, and her school. So much to take on at one time, it's pushing her to a place she's never been before. You won't find any diluted plot twists or surprise endings - this novel is pure emotion - focusing more on Valerie and her growth as a character. And we get to experience the journey right with her.
Uniquely woven at the beginning of a few chapters are newspaper clippings, depicting the events of the shooting from completely different points of view. Certainly an original idea that really gives the book an authentic and fresh dynamic.
Jennifer Brown did a wonderful job at capturing such a unique voice in an ultimately realistic way as we read how Valerie struggles to pick up the pieces of her shattered life. Drifting from the past to the present, we get to read about Valerie's life before and after the shooting. The doubts, the heartache, the longing - it's is all there, front and center, for the reader to experience. It's not often that I cry at the end of a novel, but I did for this one.
Overall consensus: Hate List is a compelling read that may leave you with a bit of a heavy heart but a completely satisfied feeling. The prose is a bit angsty at times, but not mired in it. It depicts raw emotion and will certainly have you deep in thought by the end. A book not easily forgotten!