Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

A quote:
“Just like there's always time for pain, there's always time for healing.”

My rating:

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.

I picked it up because:

The summary had me completely hooked. A school shoot-out by one of its students: I'd never read a book with anything even close to this premise before, even though it's something that comes up in the news and everyday life. A book like this can really open people's eyes to something that's become just part of the world, and I think it's great of Jennifer Brown to explore a topic like this.

What I liked:
The perspective. Having the book written from the perspective of the shooter's girlfriend, Valerie, made it much more personal than if it had been from just a kid from the school's perspective, because Valerie doesn't automatically think of Nick as the villain like everyone else. She has good memories of who she thought he really was and her perspective allows you to see her struggle to fit the two people together to find the real Nick Levil.

What I didn't like:
The book skips around in time, letting you see Valerie as she works her way through life as she starts back her senior year, but also excerpts from the past: memories of she and Nick, of the actual day of the shooting, and her recovery in the days afterward. While I appreciated the tidbits of the past, they were a little distracting from the main plot and I found myself double-checking a lot to make sure I knew what part of her life I was reading about. I would've liked to see more of Nick and Valerie's relationship, of how they were close and how they interacted with each other, because I found Nick's character to be likeable, and as the antagonist of the novel, I wished I could've known him better.
My main dislike would mostly be the pacing of the book. While I was intrigued by the plot enough to keep reading, I found myself getting bored. The writing, and I hate to say this, was bland at times, and if it hadn't been for my interest of how it would end, I might not have finished it.

If you're as intrigued by the plot as I was, read it, and maybe you'll get more out of it than me. If you need something that's going to entertain you from the first to last page, you might want to look elsewhere.

Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below!


  1. just got this book today! :)

  2. (: You're going to have to come back and tell me what you thought of it!