Title: Hate List
Author: Jennifer Brown
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers
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.
This book is heartbreaking. The flashbacks between what happened and what's happening now, add so much to the book. You feel yourself grieving with her, wanting her to stop blaming herself. The plot isn't dominant in this book, the characters are. I've never read anything like that before, where the characters are the main focus instead of the plot. I kind of like it. Although the main focus was Valerie, you got to see into the other students eyes and how they felt about the whole thing. You wouldn't expect that in a novel, and I'm amazed that it was accomplished in this one. The ending had tears in my eyes it was so sad, yet a good way to forget yet remember. Overall this is a heartbreaking, emotional, strong novel about grieving and understanding how actions really do effect others.