Where I got it: ARC for review from publisher
Rating: 5 stars
Cover Rating: 4 stars (It's very emotive which I appreciate. I also love the poem etched over and over at the bottom.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: May 10, 2011
Page Count: 354 p.
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
There's a charming and handsome new boy, Cole, at school and Alex is instantly crushing on him. Cool thing is, he seems to like her too. Alex and her two friends, Zack and Beth have been super close since forever. They have been planning a road-trip to Colorado to help Alex feel closer to her dead mother. With Cole in the picture though, Alex's friendships fall to the wayside. When he first starts hurting her, Alex pushes her friends away, reasoning that they set him off. After a while of playing it safe all the time though, Alex can't keep ignoring the put-downs and pinches. She knows she has to make a decision but she's not sure what choice she can actually make.
Whoa. I have not yet read Hate List, but now I know I have to. Absolutely have to. This novel was wonderfully written and completely devastating. Each character played their role perfectly and completely. Alex was such a genuine character. I'm sure some people will roll their eyes when they read about her staying in an abusive relationship. I didn't. She acknowledged the fact that something was wrong, eventually. It's hard to take a step back and really look at someone when you are that close to them. Even if you do know that they aren't the greatest, there are so many things that make people stay. I think Jennifer Brown did an incredible job highlighting a lot of the reasons that Alex found it so hard to break away.
I really wish this book was published when I was still in high school. I mean there was Dreamland, but this one is so much more accessible. I was in an abusive relationship, and had moved in with him when I was a Senior. It was really hard to get out, because I was scared and I couldn't really support myself alone(or so I thought). I think this book has the potential to help a lot of girls or even guys in similar situations. Guys are often abused in relationship too, and people sometimes forget that. This book dealt with so many of the emotions and thoughts that can go through an abused persons' head. The feeling of not wanting to be "that girl whose boyfriend beat her" or the "victim" or "that girl who stayed with the guy who hit her". There are so many negative reactions to people who stay in abusive relationships, but everyone has a reason. A lot of people just need someone there to help them. In abusive relationships however, these people can be hard to come by since often times the abused is driven to isolation.
I really appreciated Alex's friends, even if it was really hard to keep being her friend after Cole. Zack at least was still 100% there for her even if Alex didn't like it. Friends like Zack are the reason that Alex could get out of the relationship. Alex's boss, Georgia, was a great support to Alex too. I liked that she had the motherly/friend feel to her. Those are always great people to have around and be around. I will certainly be bumping Hate List up on my list as well as eagerly anticipating a new novel by this fantastic author. This book was wholly accurate and incredibly well-written. Though it may be hard for many people to read in all its realism, I think this book is a must read.
"If I had to describe my best friend, Bethany, in one word, it would be persistent."
"'I love you,' I whispered into the fabric of his shirt."