Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hate List--Jennifer Brown (book review)

Hate List is a young adult book about the aftermath of a school shooting, told from the point of view of Valerie, whose boyfriend, Nick, was the shooter. The story begins months after the shooting, when Valerie feels recovered enough physically (she was shot in the leg trying to stop Nick from killing a girl she despised) and emotionally to return to school to complete her senior year.

The chronology of the book is mixed up a bit, so readers see parts of the shooting and Valerie and Nick's relationship beforehand, though most of the story focuses on Valerie's recovery and her classmates' and family's reaction to the tragedy. The result beckons readers to understand how someone could naively participate in the events leading to tragedy, without realizing the outcome that seems so obvious after the fact. It's a powerful read that has much to say about the potential we have to impact other people's lives in both positive and negative ways.

The soundtrack: Here's a full playlist, courtesy of author Jennifer Brown. Brown says that Nickelback's If Everyone Cared was the inspiration for the book.

Want to win this book and other goodies? There's a contest for you on Jennifer Brown's blog. Add to her "Love List" (a list of things and people she loves) to help balance out the "Hate List" that Valerie and Nick shared for three years before the shooting, and you could win a bag full of goodies (including a copy of Hate List) or a $20 Barnes & Noble gift certificate.

Just for fun, and in no particular order, here's my love list:
1. the people who brought grapes, apples, and rhubard from their garden on Sunday
2. my homeschooling friends because they have great kids and are fun to hang out with
3. those three guys I live with (they should be first)
4. the big old gray tabby cat I saw yesterday at the animal shelter. I want him.
5. my neighbors when they have their friends over to play bluegrass music together on the porch
6. the dog my son read to me about, who saved kittens from a fire
7. Ben and Jerry, for making Coconut 7-layer bar ice cream
8. my library, for offering $5 gift certificates to Ben and Jerry's for summer reading.
9. Traveling to Teens, for organizing the blog tour for this book and for not yelling at me for posting this two days late.
10. All the people who've let me know they're still reading my blog by leaving comments. Thank you! Who's on your Love List? (Note that to enter the contest, you must post your list on Jennifer's blog)


  1. lovin the playlist - looks like a good book!

  2. I keep reading great reviews of this book. I do wish they'd change the cover, though.

  3. Thanks for the great review, Ali. It's the first I'd heard of this one, and I do think I'd like to read it. And thanks for the love list...it left me with a very happy heart feeling.
    (P.S.--Go adopt the kitty!)

  4. This looks interesting. It's the first I have heard of it!

  5. This sounds like a really interesting book. I don't really like the cover, though. I think that a book dealing with a topic like this should have a more memorable or haunting cover.

  6. Hazra and Bermuda Onion, I don't love the cover, either, but I do think the colors are fitting for the book.

    Aimee, I was thrilled that she did a playlist!

    Debi, I'm still thinking about that sweet old cat, but the thing is that he's 12 years old and we just had our 19-year-old cat die in August. We're not sure any of us are ready for another elderly cat so soon.

    Kailana, I think you might like Hate List. Let me know if you ever give it a try.