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Teens Review Teen Lit

Friday, September 13, 2013

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Reviewed By: A.T.
Where to begin...This book takes a serious topic and flips it on it's head. You get to hear the story of a school shooting from the point of view of Valerie, an outcast high school student known as "Sister Death" to her tormentors, and the girlfriend of the school shooter to the rest of the world. Is she a victim? Is she a hero? Is she an instigator? Tired of being picked on with no outlet to release their frustrations, Valerie and her boyfriend Nick start writing things they hate (people, places, things, etc...) down in a notebook that they dub the "Hate List". Preppy girls at school, Algebra homework, that teacher that won't let them be 1 second late for class...everything makes it to the Hate List. Then one day, Nick takes the list too far, and shows up to school with a gun. In the aftermath of the shooting that claimed several of her classmates lives, including Nick, and a gunshot wound to her leg, Valerie tries to slog through her life and pick up the pieces. But as Valerie, her family, the school, and the community try to heal, she has to come face to face with some haunting thoughts. Did she really know Nick at all? Is she responsible for what happened? How can she ever forgive herself for not seeing any warning signs?
Why I Picked it Up: This was a book club pick, and I was hesitant to read it, since I wasn't sure how I was going to react to the plot of the school shooting.
Why I Finished It: It was a great book, and so well written! It made you see a shooting from multiple angles, including the aftermath and what, if anything, really changes after an event like that.
I’d Give this Book To: I would recommend this book anyone who has ever felt alone, picked on, or misunderstood. At the same time, I would recommend this to anyone who has ever teased someone, for any reason. "Harmless" actions can sometimes have horrible unintended consequences.

**Librarian Side Note** Did you know this book was on the 2014 Abraham Lincoln Award Nominee list?  Look for the book display in the Teen Area for more books on the list!

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