Stacia (the 2010 club)'s Reviews > Hate List

Hate List by Jennifer Brown
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Apr 13, 2011

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bookshelves: young-adult, dark-or-taboo, realistic-general-or-lit-fiction
Read in August, 2012

3.5 stars. After sitting on my thoughts for a day, I feel like I can't review this book with any sort of polished thought process, so I'm just going to let my fingers type out whatever comes to mind. I think this book probably deserves a 4 star plus rating because it is a story worth telling and a story worth reading, but a few things held me back from going higher.

1. The timing was off for me. Given that my state has been rocked by several shootings over the past several years (the most recent being the movie theater one; the most upsetting for me personally being the one that happened in my town not long ago at a church we've participated in activities at), I think my mind was having a hard time processing the fact that I was reading this book as fiction, for the sake of entertainment. I might have been better off picking up a real account, such as Columbine instead. I'm not saying that Hate List trivialized the severity of the subject for the purpose of cheap thrills. I've used the word "entertainment" very lightly in this regard. The subject matter was absolutely handled with the utmost of respect.

2. Books like this should be required reading for kids around the middle school age range. Kids need to be told over and over just how bad bullying is. This book managed to show many perspectives on a school shooting, but the one perspective that stood out to me the most was how one person felt like if they'd been a little kinder, there might have been a chance that the entire chain reaction of events might not have been triggered. ONE person out of the many bullies tormenting the offender might have been able to prevent something so horrendous from happening.

3. Most of the book felt cold to me. I can't explain why I felt detached, but I was. It wasn't until the very last section that everything hit me in a big way (it appears that a few other friends thought the same thing), and then I started to cry. The book was worth reading just for the way I felt about the last section, but there was something about the setup which felt sterile to me. Maybe that was the point, who knows...but some of the past and present transitions could have been handled a little smoother.

4. I appreciated that both of the parties (directly and indirectly) involved with the shootings were shown as feeling, thinking, human beings. Too often, we fail to look at the person committing the crime and wonder how they got to such a place that would make them want to hurt other people. This passage near the end of the book made me lose it (I'm not going to consider it a spoiler that you'll figure out the shooter killed himself because that happens a good portion of the time with these types of crimes, so it's something the majority of us would probably assume to be something that would happen) :

Of course Ma would have wanted Nick remembered as a "Beloved Son." Of course she'd do it in the most laid-back way possible - whispering it to him in tiny letters on his headstone. Just a whisper. You were beloved, son. You were my beloved. Even after all of this, I still remember the beloved you. I can't forget.

Even the worst person on earth might still have someone there, remembering them after they are gone - remembering not only the bad, but also the good, the part of that person worth loving.

Just typing that out had me fighting back tears. Maybe if Nick had realized just how loved he was, he wouldn't have felt the need to kill those on the "hate list," those people who bullied him. I guess we'll never know.
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Comments (showing 1-26 of 26) (26 new)

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message 1: by Renee (new)

Renee Due to current events, the idea of this book creeps me out more than Captive in the Dark. Good luck.


message 2: by Shana (new) - added it

Shana I just got this one. You'll have to keep us updated on how it is


Stacia (the 2010 club) In the end, I really liked how everything came together to show how the tragedy had an effect on everyone but the book took a while to get to a point where I was invested.


message 4: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Espinoza Don't know if I could do this one, your review made me tear up at the end. I always have a hard time with books like this, 19 Minutes by Jodi Picoult was one too that killed me. I feel so bad for the kid being bullied it scares me to think that one of my kids might have to go through that too.


Wendy F Oh man, you made me cry, lmao. Your review made me cry... I have this on my list, but have been afraid to read it. I guess I'll have to bite the bullet sooner.


Stacia (the 2010 club) I must be hormonal today because now both of you have made me tear up!


message 7: by Searock (new)

Searock Fantastic review, Stacia.


Stacia (the 2010 club) Thank you dear. :)


message 9: by Miranda (new) - added it

Miranda Your review just reminded me why I wanted to read this book so badly. Don't get me wrong, I love a good light read, but I think it's great that books like these resonate so deeply with people and really make them think. Excellent review


Stacia (the 2010 club) I agree. Every so often it's good to read books that make us reflect.


message 11: by Katy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Katy Love your review Stasia! This is one of my favorite books. Its heavy, but important. I think its a book everyone should read once.


Stacia (the 2010 club) Hmmm...I'm going to guess that you're the person recc'd this one. You don't have to answer because I know it's sooper sekrit. :p

Thanks!


message 13: by Katy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Katy Haha maybe I am! :P I cried so much at the end. It's one of those books that stays with me.


message 14: by Amy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Amy Just finished this book myself and loved ur review. I felt exactly the same, the enjoyed the first part, but didnt feel the emotion, until she read Nicks tombstone, i started bawling and didnt stop till well after id finished the book!!!


Stacia (the 2010 club) I know! The last part of the book wrecked me.


message 16: by Miz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Miz Have you read Nineteen Minutes?


Stacia (the 2010 club) I haven't. Would you recommend?


message 18: by Miz (new) - rated it 4 stars

Miz Yes absolutely :)


message 19: by G L (new) - rated it 4 stars

G L Meisner You really said everything I think about the book also. It was such a flat thing until the end and then I cried. It didn't tear me up the way I thought it would.


message 20: by Abby (new) - rated it 5 stars

Abby I totally agree with everything. I started reading this book at my school's library and finished half of it. The timing confused me, too, because it started with her talking to someone but then she randomly changes the story to a memory. I had to go back a few times, but I personally really liked this book. :)


Stacia (the 2010 club) It can be jarring, when the perspective changes like that.


message 22: by Kacielowrey (new)

Kacielowrey I totally agree with your point about reading this book as fiction or "entertainment" in a sense. It was a bold choice for Brown to tackle such a controversial and poignant topic. AS you said, I also felt detached mainly because of this. While some lines hit me deeply (e.g.“You may not have pulled the trigger, but you helped cause the tragedy.” ) I was hesitsnt on relying on a fictitious account to really understand the pain felt uner these circumstances. I would be lying if I said I didnt shed a tear, because I did. While I wasnt really able to relate with Valerie on tht much, I did feel for her. I often found myslef pitying her and Nick, and their families and everyone involved but im curious as to if that was Browns intent.


message 23: by Kacielowrey (new)

Kacielowrey Also I would like to add that this is a great review!!


message 24: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol OK, this review made me cry!


Stacia (the 2010 club) I don't know if I should apologize or not. Hopefully, not in too bad of a way!

(also, sorry to Kacie for missing the comment above this. I didn't mean to ignore it).


message 26: by Carol (new) - added it

Carol LOL - no, not in a bad way. It was the quote about the mother that did it...


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