Hate List is about a girl named Valerie Leftman who's life was turned upside on May 2nd. On that day, her boyfriend opened fire on their school cafeteria, aiming for the people on the "Hate List" they had created together. Confused and scared about the situation herself, Valerie ends up getting shot and is put out of school until the following school year.
Upon returning, she finds herself to be an outsider to all of her old friends. They, along with many other students, are conflicted: they're not sure whether to believe that she's guilty for creating the list or innocent for not knowing about what Nick was going to do. Throughout the school year, Valerie learns that she must make amends, and let go of part of her past in order to secure her own future.
Review: Normally when I read a book like this with a school setting in which a tragedy occurs (e.g. shooting, bombing, etc.), I find it dull. My mind is fully aware the whole time that everything is fictional, and, therefore, I can't feel any emotions because I feel as though they're just going to end up being a lesson about bullying guised by a novel with a plot barely able to be called a plot in the first place.
That being said, I liked this book. I geniunely liked this book.
I was able to empathize with Valerie. I felt like all the times society and her own family seemed to shut her out, I was sitting right there with her.
I saw Nick the way she saw him: by the end of novel, even though he had killed the kids, I still saw him as a victim. Valerie too. I think that's the whole underlying message Brown way trying to convey: that you don't have to be shot or targeted to be a victim. Kids left Garvin High School with not only physical scars, but mental scars as well. They were all victims.
I also enjoyed the format of this book. I liked the beginning where it switched between the newpaper articles, before the shooting, and then after the shooting.
Final Verdict: Four stars. Didn't give this five stars because of that annoying Mary Sue quality of Valerie (i.e. a fantastic artist) and just... I don't know. Something felt missing to me. Like the ending needed to tie up just a few more loose ends. Otherwise, good book.