Friday, October 16, 2009

Book Review: Hate List

Title and Author of book: Hate List: A Novel by Jennifer Brown
Fiction or non-fiction: Fiction
Genre: YA
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!


  1. This book sounds very good Staci. I am very saddened by the amount of violence in our world today. I sure wish it wasn't like that.

  2. Your review gave me chills! With kids, it seems so obviously dangerous to give them access to weapons!

  3. Loved this book too. (I've got to get my thoughts posted). Great idea to have a discussion guide! It is a must read.

  4. wowwwwwwwwwww! This sounds amazing!!!!! Sooooooooooo a must read!!!!! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

  5. sounds like a must read! nice review

  6. I've been on the fence about this book, but your review has made me officially add it to my to-read list!

  7. Your note at the end made me sad, but I really appreciate you reminding us of why this book is important.

  8. This one sounds like something I would really enjoy. I read 19 Minutes by Jodi Picoult and it deals with the same tompic and I enjoyed it alot. Your review is a great one and I will be on the lookout!

  9. I thought this book was quite remakable. And very important in this day and time. You wrote a very nice review of it. I agree totally about shouting from the housetops. Parents should read this book. Teens should read it. I also agree about the discussion guide because there is a wealth of info in it that could be discussed by either a teen group or even an adult book group.

    Keep shouting!! :-)

  10. This is an amazing book. I love it. Great review! :D

  11. This is a great read. I sympathized with Valerie's position. Have to get it together to post my review.

  12. I used to think that only happens over there, but last year, and the year before we had schoolshootings here and it shook me to the very soul. A book that should be read

  13. I really like reading books that are "important" so after reading you review I put this one on hold at the library immediately. Thank you!

  14. This book sounds very important and timely. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!
    That recent tragedy with the rubbing alcohol is just beyond comprehension.

  15. Excellent review Staci and yet another one going on my wishlist thanks to you :-)

    It is heartbreaking hearing about these types of tragedies in schools, and I'm sad to say extreme violence is becoming a regular occurrence at a younger age in Australian schools too.
    Have you read Jodi Picoults 19 Minutes?

  16. I am so glad you enjoyed this book! I have it on my TBR pile and I can't wait to read it!


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