Review of Hate List by Jennifer Brown

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.

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Valerie is coping with life after the aftermath of a shooting at her school - by her boyfriend, Nick. Now she believes (not completely incorrectly) that everyone blames her for it, despite stopping the shooting and gaining a bullet to her leg in the process. Going back to the past to show us what happened and switching to the future to show us the aftermath, this book kept me reading until the very last page.

Although Valerie was the main character, her boyfriend Nick was the most memorable for me. He seemed to have a presence during every chapter of the book, regardless of whether or not he was in that chapter or not! Valerie is a character I won't forget easily, I felt torn in two reading her story, agreeing with Valerie's opinions of herself and her parent's opinions at the same time. I wish I could have known her brother better, as he seemed pretty awesome and I was curious to see how having a sister that's accused of being an accomplice to a murderer effected him. I really hated Valerie's dad. I wanted to understand him but the stuff he said/did just made me hate more and more.

I got everything I expected from this book - and more. For such a thick book, it was a surprisingly quick read - probably because I enjoyed it so much! I loved watching (reading?) Valerie slowly come out of her shell throughout the book, making new friends and discovering herself again. I thought that the last chapter was just beautiful, and a very fitting ending to Valerie's story.

5/5

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