Hate List


How did I get it?:
I bought it!


5 months ago Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend opened fire on their school cafeteria, killing five students and one teacher before turning the gun on himself. Valerie, who was shot trying to stop him, is initially implicated in the shootings because of the hate list she helped create. The hate list her boyfriend used to pick his targets.

As Valerie integrates back into school, more of an outsider than she ever thought she was before, she is forced to confront her feelings of guilt and loneliness. Exploring the gray area between hero and villain, she navigates the rocky relationships with her family, her former friends, with the memory of the boyfriend she still loves, and with the girl whose life she saved five months ago. As she moves toward graduation and the year anniversary of the shooting, Valerie must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it all in order to make amends and move on with her life.


I have heard so many good things about this book. It has been featured on so many blogger’s Top Ten lists for several reasons, so I decided it was time to check it out. I thought Hate List was a powerful, important read. The story is told through flashbacks, present day and the newspaper reports.

Our main protagonist is Valerie, the girlfriend of the shooter. It felt very raw to read it from her point of view. Jennifer Brown really portrayed Valerie’s emotions beautifully. It was so easy to connect to Valerie. She had such conflicting emotions about Nick. She was struggling with her feelings towards Nick. On the one hand, she knew that he was a good guy but on the other hand she had to deal with the reality of what he had done. I thought Jennifer Brown handled Valerie’s feelings of guilt incredibly well as well.

The secondary characters are also so well developed. The anger, fear and hate are portrayed brilliantly, as are the feelings of needing someone to blame and ultimately beginning to forgive. I particularly liked Valerie’s little brother. I would’ve liked to read more about how he was handling what had happened. I absolutely loved Valerie’s doctor, Dr Hieler. He was such a strength to Valerie and I loved how he dealt with her feelings and gradually led her to accept what had happened.

I was really impressed with Jennifer Brown’s writing style. It was so easy to read and descriptive enough to imagine what horrible things had happened to the students. I’d definitely read another of Jennifer Brown’s books.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course

Reading next:
Pivot Point- Kasie West.

12 thoughts on “Hate List

  1. Awesome review Chrissi! This book sounds really good. I think I have another book by this author…A Thousand Words so she clearly likes to write about the issues. Putting on my list 🙂

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