Friday, 31 May 2013

Hate List - Jennifer Brown

Hate List

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.

You know when you hear someone say, 'One day, you will find a book that will change the way you think about life.' Yeah? Well for me, that book was Hate List.

This book is one which hasn't got the most action packed plot, yet is rather driven by the stunning, multi-layered characters. Valerie, our main protagonist was such an interesting character to read about, observing how she deals with the loss of her boyfriend, and her conflicting feelings as to whether it is right to love a 'monster.' Though Valerie's boyfriend, Nick - he shooter is dead, the book also carries his haunting voice throughout the book, which honestly gave me chills as I began to understand that he too, is a victim, a stupid, vulnerable victim.
The structure of this book is also what made it so strong. The book follows a chronological order, from the day of the shooting right up until a year after, yet manages to cleverly refer back to the accident through newspaper clipping, documenting the deaths and destruction that the shooting caused, constantly reminding the reader the effects of the tragedy and heightening the sheer emotion that this book possesses.  

This book honestly had such an emotional impact on me. Heck, I think I cried eight times! I feel so lucky that I got to read such a hauntingly beautiful book, and I believe that Valeries story of bravery and forgiveness, will stay with me for a long time. 

A million stars out of 5.  


  1. I loved you review ! It put me in a trance ! :) xx
    I just might give the book a shot ! :) xxx

  2. I've had this book on my bookshelf forever it seems and have never picked it up. After reading your review, I need to change that. A million stars out of 5? Haha, I love it!

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  4. Brown captures these levels by intricately growing the reader's understanding of Valerie by moving easily back and forth in time from before the shooting to the results after the shooting. Readers can easily identify with the mental turmoil because Brown has captured the essence of high school relationships so common in adolescence.

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