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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Review: Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Hate List by Jennifer Brown
Publication Date: September 1st, 2009
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Page Count: 405
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
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 finished this book, with tears streaming down my face and wanting to hug the closest person to me. Unfortunately, the closest person to me was a guy sleeping on a bench with his headphones in. Either way Hate List is a heartbreaking book about acceptance, tolerance, bullying, and obviously hate. The book alternates between the day of the school shooting and what's going on with Valerie in the present, as she goes back to school. There are brief newsclippings thrown in that talk about all the students that were injured or killed during the shooting which give a great perspective and more insight into the characters.

It's not going to be difficult for anyone to relate to this book, whether you've been the victim of bullying or bullied someone else, Hate List shows a lot of different perspectives. Valerie, the protagonist, is such an emotional character, I constantly found myself wanting to jump into the book to defend her and hug her and protect her. She struggles with so many different people in her life, her parents, her teachers, her former friends. No one trusts her, I don't think she truly trusts herself. From what we learn about Nick, I can tell he's really not a bad kid. It's one of those situations where if someone just stopped and took the time to ask the right questions and see the right things, a huge tragedy could have been avoided.

I love the way Brown wrote this book, the language is so emotional, I was constantly wiping my eyes while reading. Sometimes they were happy tears, sometimes they were sad tears, and sometimes things were just so emotional I didn't know how else to deal with what I was reading. There's the perfect amount of dialogue and description for me, and for those of you who know me, you know I don't like long descriptive paragraphs that go on and on. Brown did a fabulous job of giving depth to all the characters, and I felt like I was back in high school again.

Hate List is a tragic, yet uplifting story about a school trying to mend itself in the wake of a terrible shooting. I don't think I've ever read something so gripping and yet so hopeful. I definitely recommend this one to anyone and everyone. Hate List showcases what can happen when bullying goes too far, and people's emotional instability goes unnoticed. Even those who are loved and cherished may have something to hide. Lovers of contemporary fiction and books about bullying will enjoy this one until the end.

9 comments:

  1. I picked this book up a while ago to read it, but I haven't found it in me to read such a heavy and emotional book. I tried to read it for banned books week, but I wasn't in the right state to read it.

    I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it. It gives me courage to pick it up and read it myself.

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  2. I have seen this around, its one that I want to read. Great review.

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  3. I almost bought this last time I was at the bookstore. It sounds like it deals with a lot of issues that teens have to deal with in real life. I'll definitely have to read it at some point. Great review!

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  4. I'm so glad to read that this is a great book. I have it on my tbr list. Great review!

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  5. Oh I've had this on my TBR list for a while now. I didn't really know what to expect from it. Sounds very emotional and deep story. I think I'd quite enjoy it! Wonderful review!

    Giselle
    Xpresso Reads

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  6. @Lisa, yeah it's really heavy, I had a hard time with it sometimes, I cried A LOT, but it has a great ending, I promise!!

    @Jackie, it's definitely a great read for teens, it talks about a lot of the same issues they go through, which can be helpful. I would probably try to use it in a classroom if I could.

    @Giselle and Mrs. Q, you guys need to read this NOW! It's so good!!! But you have to be in the right state of mind, it's really emotional!

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  7. Ohhh, this one sounds like it'll make me bawl! GOT TO READ IT! :O Great review and TOO MANY HUGS FOR MY FAVOURITE LITTLE ANNA!

    Liza @ Book Crook Liza

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  8. I really liked this book, it felt very honest and full of some really raw emotions. A hard topic to tackle, but such a well done story. Really enjoyed your review!

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  9. @Liza, thanks for the hugs! I needed them after this book!!

    @Samantha, It had so many raw emotions, I think all high schoolers should read it, it tackles a lot of great issues. I'm glad you enjoyed it too!

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According to FTC guidelines I must point out that all of the books that I review on my blog were either purchased by me or were given to me by the author/publisher. All words and opinions expressed are my own and I do not receive any monetary goods for writing reviews. I will state in my review which books I have received for review and which books I have purchased/borrowed. All images and synopsis are taken from Goodreads.com unless otherwise stated.
 
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