Review: Hate List

Hate List
Hate List by Jennifer Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was one tough read, but well worth the stars.

By tough, I mean the subject matter. School shootings are almost common these days. Sadly. People blame it on bullying, harassment, mental problems…and this book gives a point of view from someone on the “inside” of the shooting.

Valerie Leftman. She was the girlfriend of the shooter, Nick Levil. She was also a victim of his. And she saved other students from their demise. The book is from her POV and it covers many times–before the shooting when life seemed like rainbows with Nick, during the morning of the shooting, and the entire aftermath of life, in school and out.

She feels partly responsible because Nick was using their list of things they hate: the people that bullied them relentlessly to algebra because letters and numbers can’t add. That list, almost a character in itself, was nothing but the grievances and stresses getting out there into the world. It made Valerie feel better, but Nick…

Well, he did shoot up the school.

This story was dark. It seemed there were more horrible occurrences than happy ones. Is that because the voice is of s girl who is depressed and she brings it down? Or is it the realities of life with the horrible things that go on in schools because those who feel they are “entitled” don’t receive any consequences for their actions along with the horrible life at home?

I had to switch to something more carefree while reading this, because it just pulls you under in the deep end, and you have to surface and take a breath. I found myself crying or teary or angry. But no matter how down I felt, there was something making me read on and on.

The end (no spoilers, I promise) was not really an ending to Valerie’s story. It was left open, maybe meaning that the future could be happy for her…or get worse…depending on what you wanted for her. I thought maybe there would be a sequel, as this one came out years ago, but nothing [yet] on Valerie’s story.

A very good read. Maybe an important read for some circles. I would have loved to have someone read this with me so we could discuss the heavy issues and emotions, maybe use some of the questions and discussions in the guides beyond the stories…


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