Published: Sept. 1, 2009
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Teen, YA, Bullying
Review: Library book
Buy Links: Amazon, Amazon.uk
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.
I didn't know how much I would be invested with this book when I started reading it.
I was amazed at how strong Valerie became as the story progressed. Valeria didn't think her notebook that she dubbed the hate list would be part of the reason her boyfriend Nick killed people. The hate list was just that a list of things, subjects and people she hated. The bullies that liked to pick on her and Nick. We all have a list like that somewhere either written down or in our head but we never act on it. Valeria never wanted to act on it but she had no clue that Nick was going to take things into his own hands.
This is story is the aftermath of the tragedy that hit Valeria's school and how she has to learn that there was nothing she could do to stop Nick. She has to move on with her life and let the past go though she never has to forget it.
I couldn't stand Valeria's parents no matter how hard I tried well until the end. Her mom I understood was in shocked with all that happened but yet she couldn't be there for her child to comfort her. Her dad was a whole other story. There was a question that Val asked her father, "Dad will you ever forgive me" and the answer he gave I was surprised at. I literally sat with my mouth opened like a fish because who gives that answer?
Dr. Hieler I liked him, he didn't sugar coat things with Val but he had her come up with things on her own if that makes sense. He didn't just talk mumbo jumbo with her he coaxed her out of her shell which she needed. He says a quote that I really liked. "Life isn't fair. A fair's a place where you eat corn dogs and ride the Ferris wheel." How true is that to be!
I found myself at tears towards the end when Val is at her graduation with her friend! The one who no matter what people said or thought got to know Val. Stood up for her even when others believed Val was a part of the shooting. The project that was presented to the graduating class is one that I believe everyone needed to move on especially Val and it worked.
There is so much more I can say about this book but I will stop my review here. If you want a read that will have you wondering if a person who had no clue of the horrors that someone she loved would inflict, and to watch her say goodbye but grow at the same time. Give this book a read.
Two-time winner of the Erma Bombeck Global Humor Award (2005 & 2006), Jennifer's weekly humor column appeared in The Kansas City Star for over four years, until she gave it up to be a full-time young adult novelist.
Jennifer's debut novel, HATE LIST (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2009) received three starred reviews and was selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA "Perfect Ten," and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. HATE LIST also won the Michigan Library Association's Thumbs Up! Award, the Louisiana Teen Readers Choice award, the 2012 Oklahoma Sequoyah Book Award, was an honorable mention for the 2011 Arkansas Teen Book Award, is a YALSA 2012 Popular Paperback, received spots on the Texas Library Association's Taysha's high school reading list as well as the Missouri Library Association's Missouri Gateway Awards list, and has been chosen to represent the state of Missouri in the 2012 National Book Festival in Washington, DC. Jennifer's second novel, BITTER END, (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2011) received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and VOYA and is listed on the YALSA 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults list and is a 2012 Taysha's high school reading list pick as well.
Jennifer writes and lives in the Kansas City, Missouri area, with her husband and three children.