Teen Book Club

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Reader: Logan 14, 9/29/2009
Hate List
Jennifer Brown
Little Brown and Company 2009

Valerie Leftman has a normal life, goes to school, has a boyfriend, goes to parties, fights with her parents, everything a normal sixteen year-old girl does, until her boyfriend, Nick, open fires on the school cafeteria, eventually shooting Valerie, then killing himself. Now five months later, must deal with going back to the horror that is school, deal with her parents’ marriage (or lack thereof) the loss of her boyfriend, and a gimpy leg. Valerie was a loner, with the nickname Sister Death, since she seemed very gothic to anyone who didn’t know her, she and Nick decided to create a list of everything they hate. (Most appropriately a “Hate List”.) Unfortunately, when Nick begins firing, he doesn’t shoot randomly; he shoots at the people on the hate list. Valerie is horrified; she attempts to stop Nick, and is shot in the calf in the process, then Nick turns the gun on himself, ending the horror. When Valerie wakes in the hospital, she is in shock, and doesn’t remember what happened, until a detective from the local police comes to acquire information about the shooting and more importantly, the hate list.By the time Valerie has been cleared of suspicion, she has been released from the hospital, and returned home, where everything gets worse; her parents’ marriage has fallen to nothing, her brother is getting no attention, and has begun to resent Valerie, her father blames her for everything, she won’t talk to anyone, then she goes back to school.School is the hell Valerie expected it to be, all the stories of “love and peace” with the destruction of cliques are absolutely false, if nothing, everything is worse. Everyone hates Valerie, her friends refuse to acknowledge her, she is alone, until Jessica, the girl she saved from Nick, decides to befriend her. I loved this book, it was incredible. The author spoke in a voice that was true and beautiful, if not a bit creepy. I hated the ending, but overall it was amazing, and at times, very hard to read. Valerie’s story spoke to me, I laughed, I cried, I enjoyed almost every second, until the end which I hated. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a slightly dark, sad book. Even though I didn’t like the ending, the rest of the book spoke wonders about the author. Unfortunately I can’t give this book 5 stars, I had it at a 4.5 before the ending, now it’s a 3.
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