Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hate List-- Jennifer Brown

Valerie loved her boyfriend Nick. He was not your typical high school guy... he was on the fringes, he was interesting, creative, and defended her from the bullies at school. He was her best friend. Was. Nick committed suicide, but only after he brought a gun to school, shot his classmates and teacher, and even shot Valerie in the leg as she tried to stop him.

When we meet Valerie, she is dealing with the aftermath of the shooting. She is completely overwhelmed with guilt and sadness from the incident. She misses her boyfriend of 3 years and can't figure out how she never knew he was capable of murder-suicide. She is totally ostracized at school even though she was also a victim. But worst of all she is full of guilt about the Hate List.

You see, when something bad would happen to Valerie, like her parents fighting or getting ridiculed at school, she would add a name to the hate list. For Valerie, it was a way to escape and displace her anger, but for Nick, it was a concise list of who deserved to be punished.

What makes this book different than other "school shooting" type books is Valerie's perspective. I felt this story gave a more well-rounded view of how and why something like this can happen without parents and friends picking up the clues. I would recommend this book to fans of Strasser's Give a Boy a Gun, Hopkins' Burned, or Endgame by Nancy Garden.

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