Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Review: Hate List - Jennifer Brown

Where I got it: Library
Rating: 3.5 stars  
Cover Rating: 3 stars (It's pretty good. I don't have much to say about it either way.)
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: October 5, 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 432 p.
Buy it: Book Depository / Amazon
Add it: Goodreads

Valerie wakes up in a hospital room and can't recall, at first, how she got there. Then it all comes back to her, bit by bit. There was a shooting...her boyfriend...a gun in his hands...screaming. Then she pieces things together and realizes that she was shot but lived, as her boyfriend shot and killed many of their classmates. Valerie can't figure out how this could be. Her Nick, killing all those people. Then there are news reports playing over and over, talking about the Hate List. The list she started with Nick with all the people and types of people they hated in it. Then there's a detective in her room, trying to pin blame on her. All Valerie wants is to go back in time and erase all that has happened. She doesn't want to try to face school alone and as even more of an outcast than before. The thing she struggles with most is why. Why did Nick snap? Why would he do this? Why can't she just feel better?

This was an amazingly touching story. It's about a school shooting, but more than that about the aftermath and how a girl stuck in a terrible position has to try to heal. Valerie is the girlfriend of the boy who shot up the school. She wrote down names in the Hate List. Everyone has a hard time believing that she didn't know this was going to happen, especially since Nick was overheard saying "Don't you remember the plan?".  Valerie was shot in the thigh while trying to end the spree, but she doesn't feel like she's a hero. She blames herself for the shooting too. She feels that , if only she knew she could have stopped him before it happened. She's not the only one who feels like it's their fault. Valerie not only has to deal with the physical healing, but also has to join in with the communities emotional healing. The shooting changed some people, but some people stayed the same.

Valerie was an interesting character. She was selfish at times, which I think comes from withdrawing inside herself. Her home issues seemed to sort of change her into a different person. Dating Nick also helped her transformation along. Nick was a victim of his own anger. He didn't seem like a terrible person, he just had a terrible thing inside him. I wish we had known more about Jeremy, Nick's mysterious friend. We don't hear a lot about him and I really wanted to be able to paint him as the bad guy, but there's nothing that proved or disproved that he was. Nick just didn't seem like that kind of a person.

I really liked Dr. Hieler. He was a like-able kind of guy. Blunt and honest, but caring. He seemed really good at what he did, and he seemed to enjoy it. If all psychologist were like him, I bet more people would be mentally healthy. I wish we had gotten to see more of Bea. Who was she? Where did she come from? She almost seemed like a dream. If Valerie was the only one who ever talked to her, I would have thought she was imaginary. She was an interesting character while she was in the story though. Then there was Angela Dash, who I wound up disliking even though we didn't end up meeting her until the end. She just seemed like an unpleasant person...a tabloid journalist type. In it for the drama and the money.

There were other characters and they all seemed to have good sides and bad sides, which is how people are. In case you needed proof of Valerie's selfishness, you can see how often she mentions the other people in great detail. Her mom was sort of all over the place, which was understandable but still a bit much. Her dad was a jerk, and had his own priorities that didn't seem to include his "spoiled" daughter.

The story itself though, the situation that Valerie found herself to be stuck in, was an interesting and unique one. She was close enough to Nick to be blamed for what happened, but not close enough that she could have prevented it. Valerie has a lot that she struggles with and Jennifer Brown wrote it well.

The end was very touching and made me really love Jessica. I was on the fence about her the whole book, but at the end she won me. Make sure you check out this book when you get a chance and be prepared for an emotional journey unlike any you've taken before.

First Line:
"[From the Garvin Country Sun-Tribune, May 3, 2008, Reporter Angela Dash]
The scene in the Garvin High School cafeteria, known as the Commons, is being described as 'grim' by the investigators who are working to identify the victims of a shooting spree that erupted Friday morning."

Favorite Line:
"And as he told me about the story, quoted passages about divinity as if he has written them himself, I knew."


  1. I am definitely regretting not reading this, loved your review hun! It sounds like a really good story, and one that's quite relevant these days

  2. You know, same thing here!! I'd heard so much about Hate List but then it slipped my mind (along with everything else lol), so I never got to read it!


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