Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

October 7th, 2009 by Debbie's World of Books


I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars

Description from 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.

Wow, I mean wow.  That was my first thought when I finally finished this book late last night.  This book was so disturbing and yet one of the best books I’ve read lately.  Each chapter opened up with snippets of news articles covering the shooting at Valerie’s school.  We slowly piece together what happens at the same time watching Valerie recover from being shot by her boyfriend and then having to return to school the following term and having to face her fellow students.  Even though I was not a goth girl back in high school I still felt myself empathizing with Valerie and understanding how she felt towards the people who teased her and picked on her in school.  The strength and courage she had to return to her school after her boyfriend killed and injured many of their fellow students astounded me.  I could not imagine doing so if I were in her shoes.  Some of the best parts of this book was nothing was sugar coated.  Everyone’s reactions including those of Valerie’s parents and brothers were so gritty and frustrating that I wanted to slap some of them around yet I they all felt so real.

Honestly I have a hard time thinking of anything I didn’t like about this book.  Just a warning though this book will leave you feeling emotionally wrung out and you will need time to decompress after you finish it.

Posted in 5 Star Books, Books, Young Adult

13 Responses

  1. Sstephanie

    You may like We Need to Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver. That’s about a school shotting as well, told from the viewpoint of the killer’s mother. I just reviewed it on my blog.

    Sounds like The Hate List would be right up my alley. I just went ahead and reserved it at my library. Thanks for the review!

  2. dsuzuki

    I will have to check that one out. Thanks!

  3. Stephanie

    You have sold me — thanks for your review! :)

  4. Lori

    What a great, solid review. Thanks, Debbie!

  5. Amy @ My Friend Amy

    I’ve read quite a few positive reviews for this one! I’ll have to check it out for sure.

  6. Karoline

    I’ve heard a lot about this book! I’m going to check this out. It looks really good. Great review.

  7. Page

    I really want to read this one. Great review!

  8. Michelle

    I’m so glad you liked it! I couldn’t agree more this is definitely in my top five reads (heck top three) of the year. I thought the writing was amazing and the story emotional but so very compelling. I didn’t want to see it end….I wanted to see more!

  9. dsuzuki

    Thanks everyone! I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.
    Michelle-I know exactly what you mean! I just love the writing and the entire way the author handled all the situations.

  10. J. Kaye

    I only read the first two sentences of your review. Sorry, but I didn’t want to read more cause I have this on my wish list! :) I am soooooo thrilled you loved it or that what it sounded like. I can’t wait!

  11. dsuzuki

    LOL. Yes loved it and hope you do too.

  12. Kay

    I am so glad you loved this one! It’s in my TBR pile and I still haven’t read it yet – that’s another book I’ll have to get to sooner than later!

  13. dsuzuki

    Kay-definitely should move this up in the TBR pile. I had it for awhile and moved it up based on Michelle’s (GalleySmith) suggestion. So glad I did.

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