Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Quote: "He looked at me uncertainly, took a deep breathe, and hesitantly started talking. His voice grew more and more animated as he told me about Hamlet and Claudius and Ophelia and murder ad betrayal. About Hamlet's hesitation being his fatal flaw. About how he totally berated the woman he loved. And as he told me the story, quoted passages about divinity as if he'd written them himself, I new. I knew I was falling in love with him, this boy with the ratty clothes and the bad attitude who smiled shyly and quoted Shakespeare."
Description: Five months ago Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Val was as shocked as everyone else-but, despite her own serious injury, she's implicated in the crime because of the list. The list she and Nick made of people they hated. The list Nick 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, her 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.
Review:Wow. This has got to be the most emotional book I have ever read. And I loved every second of it. I went through the five different stages that every good book should have: Interest, Obsession, Love, Sadness, and Closure. So, in order:
a. Interest: Saw the spine in the library, really liked the colors of the cover, really, really liked the cover, read the back, shrugged, and left.
b. Obsession: Five minutes later, go back to it and grab it. Bring it home, can't stop thinking about it, first book I read in my pile.
c. Love: I fell head-over-heels for the story. I needed to know what happened the day of the shooting. I absolutley craved the little segments of Nick and Val's previous life, and honestly, I fell in love with them as a couple.
d. Sadness: Everything time something bad happened to Val's life, I cried. Not even gonna pretend I didn't. This book made me that emotional, and I rarely cry during a book. Every time she got her hopes up and BAM, someone kicks her over, I cried. And obviously, I cried at the end, at the memorial.
e. Closure: Me knowing tht Val was gonna be okay in the end was so reassuring for me, I felt my spirits brighten during the entire Part Four.
And now I realaize I have not even spoke about the book.
Hate List takes off the summer after Valerie's boyfriend, Nick, shot up the school cafeteria. Throughout the book, it flashes back to the day of, and what became the final straw for Nick. Nick and Valerie made a Hate List of all the things they hated in the world, which Valerie originally started, so that's why she blames herself. She thinks she set the snowball in motion. The red-spiral book included names of the popular kids, bullies, mean teachers, etc.
The book is not even about the school shooting, though. After I finished it, that's what I thought it was about: everything revolving around that day(May 2nd, 2008). But after reading the interview that Jennifer has in the book, I relaized, it's not really about that at all. Sure, the shooting was the reason all these different things are happening, but it's about Valerie finding peace in the world after it shatters. Oh yeah, and then her friends are total bitches and just drop her after Nick dies. So she has no one.
Overall, I am just really, really, happy that I went back for this book. I'm not really sure if it's popular in the blogosphere since it came out in 2009, but it really deserves to get recognition because this book is incredible.