Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Valerie loves her boyfriend. He really gets her, and he stands up for her when all the other kids call her "Sister Death". It's a daily thing for Val and her friends, being bullied, being ridiculed, getting beat up. One day, Val starts the 'Hate List' - a list of all the people that she can't stand. She and Nick add names whenever someone else wrongs them. Like all the SBRBs (Skinny Barbie Rich Bitches) that none of them can stand. At least she has friends like Stacey and Duce to rely on...until that horrible day when everything falls apart.

Val had noticed that Nick was acting different lately, spending too much time with that burnout Jeremy and getting stoned all the time. But when Jeremy wasn't around, she could still see the old Nick in there. Maybe if she just gave him time he would quit hanging out with Jeremy, and things could go back to normal. The day started normally. She joked with him about the Hate List, and told him to add Jessica Campbell to the list...she was always picking on Val for no reason, and a stupid cheerleader blond chick. But she never thought...she never wanted...

Val didn't even see the gun at first, just heard the noise, and the screaming, and saw the blood. Her body went on autopilot, and everything was chaos. As Nick went from one person on the list to another, she tried to focus on stopping him, telling him to wait, not understanding who this person was, or why he was doing this. "Don't you remember our plan?" he asked her...like this was her idea too, but she had thought it was all a joke. A way to express their frustrations, but not ever something to act on. Can this be happening?

In the aftermath of the shooting, Val is stuck in limbo between hero and villain. Most people thing she was one of the reasons that everything happened in the first place. After a summer of therapy and grief, she decides to go back to school. After all, she hadn't wanted any of this, hadn't wanted anyone to die. She even stopped him, it's her school too. But will she be able to withstand all the dirty looks and hateful words?

She finds an ally in the most unexpected place, and loses friends that she thought were forever. In this powerful story, Brown explores the complicated emotions surrounding a tragedy like a school shooting from a new perspective - that of the survivors. A must read.

"'Lots of people died, Valerie. Your boyfriend Nick killed them. Do you have any idea why?'

I thought about this. In all the piecing together of what happened at the school, it had never occurred to me to even ask myself why. The answer seemed to obvious-Nick hated those kids. And they hated him back. That's why. Hate. Punches in the chest. Nicknames. Laughs. Snide comments. Being shoved into the lockers when some idiot with an attitude walked by. They hated him and he hated them and somehow it ended up this way, with everyone gone," (Brown pg. 145, 2009).

*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
Shooter by Walter Dean Myers
Thirt3en R3asons Why by Jay Asher
After by Francine Prose

Brown, Jennifer. (2009). Hate List. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

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