Name: The Hate List
Author: Jennifer Brown
May 2. Enemies fight, friends tease, bullies torment. Then the first gun shot began.
Ever since her boyfriend – Nick – killed students and a teacher in her school cafeteria before turning the gun on himself, Valerie Leftman has struggled with life. As her brother leaves her, parents slip apart and her friends abandon her, she becomes more lonely than ever before. She is shunned by everyone; is exposed in the crime investigation by the police because of a list. Which she and Nick made of people they hate. Which Nick used to pick his targets. The Hate List.
After a summer away from everything and everyone, Valerie must face her fears and the people of the town and the rest of the world which seems to despise her. In order to move on with her life, she must come to terms with who her boyfriend really was, what he turned her into and the tragedy that took place. What really happened on May 2, 2008.
I enjoyed this pretty depressing book (as cheesy as that blurb sounded) but I do have a few things to point out that need changing. For starters, I’m sure anyone who has read the book will agree with me, it ends on a really unsatisfying note. I don’t know whether the author was trying to set it up for another book but it came out 9 years ago – and there has been no development on it since. No spoilers, but Valerie is extremely undecided when it comes between her suicidal thoughts versus going to college and leaving the past behind her. It didn’t have to be tied off perfectly but it was quite unsatisfying as a reader.
Secondly, Valerie as a person wasn’t a particularly nice person.. At some points in the story, she did some pretty stupid stuff and also seemed a bit obtuse when it came to her ever-so-perfect boyfriend. The one who shot all the people.
Jennifer Brown never made her particularly relatable; it seemed like her life was pretty unrealistic: as rubbish a life you could ever get. She – and the reader – deserved some hope in her unhappiness. Brown missed a few important things out of the storyline too – just little things such as whether the psycho who talked Nick into killing himself was ever caught. I also think that it would have had way more impact if there was a complete list of the victims somewhere in the book, as it really was a bit vague. And finally, can we all take a minute to stare at those covers! The one I’ve put on the right is my favourite however the copy that I had was the on the left. I mean, she must have made a BIT of money from the book to hire an artist, but no. It looks like it’s been drawn by a two year old. Seriously boring.
Do you agree with me? Is there any other book covers out there that really need changing? Tell me in the comments section.
SWEETENER: I couldn’t really think of much good stuff, except how it was quite a short read for such a long book. I read it in a few days. The plot is OK but it dragged a bit and if you like gory stuff… this isn’t your type. The shooting is recounted in newspapers and her thoughts, but it’s pretty ‘PG’. The author could have ramped up the drama a bit, but like most of the book, no. The author doesn’t make that big a scene out of the shooting itself, it’s more about the pain and mental trauma it ensued. There isn’t much of a relationship between Valerie and Nick that the reader gets to know of either. It wasn’t my kind of book, but I guess if you’re more into the deep and meaningful it could be for you.
MATURE CHEESES ONLY! Even though the violence is quite low key, it covers a range of topics that might not be suitable for anyone under 12ish.
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