Hilary's Reviews > Hate List

Hate List by Jennifer Brown
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's review
Dec 20, 2010

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bookshelves: fiction, ya-lit, 2011
Read from May 22 to 24, 2011

It's only been one semester since Valerie's boyfriend, Nick, murdered several students at their high school before turning the gun on himself. Although she was not involved in the shooting - she didn't even know Nick was going to do it - she's been held to some degree responsible. After all, Valerie was the one who created the Hate List, and it seems that Nick was picking off people who were included upon it. But Valerie was the one to stop the shooting from escalating - saving one student, and getting shot in the leg herself in the process. Is she a hero, or is she responsible? How can she live with this?

Hate List is a fascinating book. The subject matter, as the synopsis shows, is incredibly dark. Jennifer Brown captures the voice of an eighteen year old outcast rather well, and more, the questioning nature of the rest of the town. The way the book is structured, newspaper clippings giving a biography of each of the students shot scattered in front of most of the chapters, serves to drive the gravity of the situation home.

The book reminded me in a lot of ways of the film/play Bang, Bang, You're Dead. While not taking the perspective of the shooter, it does take the perspective of someone more sympathetic to what causes people to go to such extremes. Nick cannot be truly vindicated for what he did, but at the same time the way he was treated is also inexcusable. Hate is a part of life, but it isn't all there is to life. I defy anyone to get through this book and not cry at the last few scenes.

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05/22/2011 page 27
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