Hate List
by Brown, Jennifer






Sixteen-year-old Valerie, whose boyfriend Nick committed a school shooting at the end of their junior year, struggles to cope with integrating herself back into high school life, unsure herself whether she was a hero or a villain.





Jennifer Brown writes and lives in the Kansas City, Missouri area with her family. She is the author of Hate List, Torn Away, Thousand Words, Perfect Escape, and Bitter End.





It is September, and senior Valerie Leftman is heading back to school. Five months earlier, her boyfriend, Nick, opened fire in the school cafeteria, killing six and wounding others before committing suicide. Despite being wounded herself while trying to stop Nick and save classmates, Val has been the focus of police investigations and rumors due to the Hate List, composed of classmates' names, which she created to vent her frustration about bullies. Struggling with guilt and grief, Val begins school as the ultimate outcast, but she finds one unexpected ally. Most books about school shootings focus on the horrifying event itself, but this debut novel breaks ground by examining the aftermath. Brown uses a creative structure of alternating narratives that incorporate excerpts from newspapers. The characters, including the many adults, are well drawn and become more nuanced as Val heals and gains perspective. Filled with unanswered questions, this compelling novel will leave teens pondering the slippery nature of perception and guilt. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.





She doesn't have the answers for why her boyfriend chose a May morning to kill six classmates and wound several others, but Valerie Leftman is one of the only people who can still remember the good in Nick Levil. As she builds her post-Nick identity during her senior year, Valerie forms an unlikely friendship with one of the shooting victims, explores art therapy and watches her family structure dissolve. Blending flashbacks, current events and newspaper articles together, Brown creates a compelling narrative that drives readers forward. Valerie's fractured relationships break along genuine stress lines, creating rich and realistic characters; the cathartic argument Valerie has with her brother and parents writhes with pent-up emotion. The author creates an appropriately complex narrative for the issues, though her attempts to address every single aspect lead to some simplified resolutions. Authentic and relevant, this debut is one to top the charts. (Fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.






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