Saturday, January 2, 2010
Review: Hate List
Title: Hate List
Author: Jennifer Brown
Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he 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, 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 (Amazon.com).
One of the most powerful stories I have ever read, Hate List had me in tears the last 50 pages or so. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop and barely moved from the couch all day. The raw emotions in this read had me rooted to the spot. Even now, hours after finishing it, it is all I can think about.
Kudos to Jennifer Brown for tackling such a taboo topic in such a powerful and poignant manner. From the very first chapter, I felt every emotion that affected Valerie. I was Valerie. I too could not get over the fact that Nick, the boy who loved Shakespeare, had shot down an entire roomful of students. I too had trouble coming to terms with all that had happened. And through each event that Valerie experienced, I saw how she struggled with the fact that in a way she was responsible for all that had happened.
In my opinion, Hate List is a novel that everyone should take the time to read. It is well written, with flawed, true to life characters. It can be emotionally draining, but uplifting at the same time. Heartbreakingly honest, Hate List is already one of the best reads of all time for me. I will definitely be looking for more to come from the talented Jennifer Brown.