Friday, August 3, 2012

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Synopsis: 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.

Title: Hate List
Series: None
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 405
Ages: 13-17 (but anyone can really read this)
Date I Finished: August 3rd, 2012
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
Book Format: Hardcover (from the lib)

First off, sorry if this review has grammar problems and/or doesn't make any sense. It's late and I'm tired.

Wow. This book.

I have to say I caught myself almost crying near the end. This journey through Valerie's hard time in highschool, after the shooting, and how Val learned many lessons as the time passed helped me learn a valuable lesson as well. In her perspective, I could easily tell she had no idea that Nick would start killing the people they put on the "Hate List", but if I were a character in the book and I didn't know Valeria at all, I would assume she were part of the reason for it. The little flashbacks of Val and Nick were definitely my favortie parts in the book. It showed both sides of Nick; the fun and happy Nick that understood what Valerie was going through, and the one who hung out with Jeremy and was serious when he talked about death. This book made me cry throughout and smile at the end. (And I love the kind of books that do that!)

COVER I like the paperback cover better! Partially because: To be honest, I really couldn't figure out what the cover showed before I read the book. It was like an illusion! I couldn't find where the face was. And if you saw the actual cover, you would know what I'm talking about because the cover showing on goodreads is much more clearer to see. Once my sister showed me where the face parts were and I saw it, I still didn't understand why'd the book would be different shades of gray because, personally, that seems boring. After I read the book, I realized that the different shades of gray TOTALLY related to the story! When that one scene where Valerie was painting, Bea told her to start with the shading (the grays). So I assume that's why the cover is like that.

PLOT Okay, now the actual story. At first I thought this book was slightly boring, and it didn't occur until the last 40 pages or so that it didn't seem as boring. (Hence the added .5 star to the rating) I realized it was actually vary facsinating reading about Valerie learning and seeing life more clearly. She didn't think about herself, which she did before the shooting (about how bad her life is with her parnets/bullies), but rather thinking about stepping into someone else's shoes and feeling their perspective of the shooting and even life before it.

CHARACTERS First off, as the story progressed, and Valerie Leftman learned more life skills, I personally started to love her for acting the way she did. In the beginning she thought of herself as the only one who really needed help because people thought she was some reason of the shooting. She didn't realize that other families were having a hard time about the shooting and of the loss of their loved ones. Next when she became friends with Jessica and learned how to deal with being blamed for, she started to blame herself and thinking maybe she was a hero for helping Jessica. Finally as she interviewed each family for the memorial that Jessica and her were planning, she learned that everybody was a hero that day, one way or another and she finally started to become happy. On the otherhand, during Valerie's flashbacks, I thought Nick Levil fit Valerie's old way of describing Nick; cute, funny, sweet, etc. She knew he liked to talk about death but she never thought of it as a reality the way Nick did. After the shooting, I knew Nick just lost it and probably was angry about the bullies and popular girls who were always "on top". Now on to Jessica Campbell, the one who bullies Valerie in the beginning, but once Valerie saved her life, started to think things differently about life. She became friends with Valerie and became a nicer person in general. She also helped Valerie get back on her two feet. (NOT literally because Valerie did get shot in the thigh)

So, I liked this book a lot and it's plot was really heart wrenching because of how sad these kids' lives were and as it progressed, became a true inspirational story. :)

★★★1/2 (Don't know how to do half a star :P)


  1. This book sounds like it was based somewhat off the Columbine High school shooting in Colorado. Nice review! (:

    1. Thanks :) I've gotten to the point where I'm too lazy to re-read my reviews for grammar so sorry if I have mistakes haha

    2. I didn't see any! And if there where any, I don't really care because I do the same all the time! haha (:

  2. Thanks :) I've gotten to the point where I'm too lazy to re-read my reviews for grammar so sorry if I have mistakes haha