"Before you, Bella, my life was like a moonless night. Very dark, but there were stars, points of light and reason. ...And then you shot across my sky like a meteor. Suddenly everything was on fire; there was brilliancy, there was beauty. When you were gone, when the meteor had fallen over the horizon, everything went black. Nothing had changed, but my eyes were blinded by the light. I couldn’t see the stars anymore. And there was no more reason, for anything."

~ Edward Cullen

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Review: Hate List

Title: Hate List
Author: Jennifer Brown
Pages: 402
Rating: 5/5

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.


TerryLynnJohnson said...

Thanks for the review. Found you at J.Kaye's. I'm a new follower because I'm also a dog lover - come check out my blog. However, my heart belongs to Jacob. Sorry.

Marce said...

Looked at your last posts on this page and love all your choices and reviews.

I'm a new follower, glad to have found you. Saw you over at J. Kaye's blog.

christa @ mental foodie said...

Sounds like an interesting read - I hope you don't mind that I add your review to my TBD blog post?

Sunnysmileqt said...

Terry Lynn - I'll still look at your blog even though you like Jacob :)

MarceJ - Thank you so much for stopping by and becoming a follower!

Christa - I don't mind at all. Thank you for stopping by!

Tammy said...

Really like your review of the Hate List, I will be adding it to my already towering TBR pile!
BTW have very similar pic of myself with same hair style! LOL!

Unknown said...

I'll be adding this to my list as well. Another book about school shootings that is worth a look is We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver - very powerful

Heather G. said...

I've heard great things about this one! Great review!

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