Friday, October 16, 2009
Title and Author of book: Hate List: A Novel by Jennifer Brown
Fiction or non-fiction: Fiction
Where did I get the book: My public library
Who recommended this book to me? Lenore's review had me captivated and I immediately requested this book!! Click here for her thoughts.
Summarize the plot but don't give away the ending!
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.
What did you like most about this book? This book was written in a very realistic manner and the author did not shy away from the gritty and horrific reality of school violence. Val is a character that a young person can identify with. I know that almost everyone has been a victim of bullying at some point in their life, but there are others who face it on a daily basis. The brutal honesty in this book is what I liked the most. Val doesn't try to make any excuses for her behavior. Instead, she is trying so hard to put her life back together and to find some sort of "new" normal.
What did you like least? Not a thing. This book is an exceptional read and the whole story was well written. I would like to see a discussion guide added to this when it comes out in paperback. I feel that adults, educators, teens, parent groups, book clubs would really be able to have thoughtful and important dialogue after reading Hate List!
Tragically, this book seems to be a fitting read at this time. Most of us remember Columbine and watching as this school shooting unfolded. Just two days ago, a fifteen-year old boy was doused with rubbing alcohol and set on fire. He may not live. A month ago teens from rival gangs beat to death a sixteen-year old boy in the streets of Chicago. Violence is real and until we step up and educate ourselves and others, these headlines will continue to be a part of our daily existence. I am standing on the rooftops shouting, "YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!"
** You can read the first chapter HERE.
If you've read and reviewed this book please leave me a link in the comments so that I can add your review to this post!