Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hate List

Hate ListHate List by Jennifer Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Like I seem to say too often, I should have reviewed this book when I first finished it, when my reaction was more visceral and less removed. If half stars were allowed, this book would be a 3.5, but I rounded instead of down because of how honest Brown's portrayal of teenagers is.

"Hate List" if you ask the author is not a story of school shooting. It is a story about a girl named Valerie who happens to have a boyfriend who brings a gun to her high school and changes everything in a matter of minutes. That said, it is hard to feel like the story is about anything, but a school shooting, or rather the aftermath of a school shooting. The book follows Val through her senior year while flashing back for part of each chapter to what happened the day of the shooting or the months preceding it.

I don't know why I voluntarily subject myself to books like this. "Hate List" is disturbing and sad, and yet, I can't seem to resist stories that seem to be about overcoming exceptional loss. I'd recommend it, but it's definitely not for the faint of heart or those who have nightmares about news stories. This story touches too close to home for many who teach, who watched in horror as the events at Columbine unfolded, or who already have a hard time sending their previous children to school. That said, I've already handed it off to my sister, so take my contradictory recommendation with more than a grain of salt. And as always, happy reading.

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