Hate List by Jennifer Brown 


Hate List
by Jennifer Brown
Pages: 405
My rating: B
Nick and Valerie are different. They are outcasts in a seemingly normal school. They share awkwardness. They share depression. They even share good times together. They share hate. Hate for the people who taunt them, for people who think they are better, for people who call names and cause pain. They begin to make a list, a “hate list” of all the people who have wronged them and who should suffer. Valerie viewed the hate list as a joke, and as a way to bond with the boy she loves. She thought Nick did too. Only, Nick decided to take it too far and seek revenge on those people who caused them so much pain. On May 2nd, Nick walked into school and began firing on his classmates, including Valerie. Then, he took his own life. Valerie is left behind to pick up the pieces and live with the guilt of being a survivor.
Being a teacher, this was a very difficult book for me to read. I don’t deal with high schoolers on a daily basis, but if I did, I’m not sure that I could have read it. I just finished it, and honestly, I’m not sure what to say. This may be one of those books that I have to sit and stew over for  a while. Obviously, it brings back painful memories of Columbine and other school shootings. I give props to the author not just for writing about difficult subject matter like school violence, but also because she chose to do it from a different angle. Valerie wasn’t just a survivor. She was somewhat involved in the planning, even though she wasn’t totally aware of it. This book brings up alot of questions that I’m not sure I can answer right now. My advice: check it out for yourself.