Hate List by Jennifer Brown
When Valerie’s boyfriend brings a gun into the high school Commons, he kills six people and injures a number of others. In fact, he shoots Val in the leg as she’s trying to get him to stop his rampage. Although she had no idea what Nick had planned, the students he targeted were people on the hate list Nick and Valerie wrote together, including all the students who had bullied them, and even people (like their parents) who had simply gotten on their nerves. Valerie saw it as a way to express her frustration with being called Sister Death by her classmates, and her sadness about her parents’ constant bickering. It never occurred to her that Nick’s talk of death, wanting to be like Romeo and Juliet and maybe “leaving it all behind” had even an ounce of seriousness behind it.
Even though Valerie helped bring the shooting to an end, saved one girl by standing in front of her in the process and was injured herself, it seemed like the whole town blamed her for what happened. Even when the police investigation cleared her, her own parents were still afraid of who she was and what she might do next.
Val’s pain and guilt throughout the book are easy for the readers to feel, making this a compelling read. Even though it’s a little over 400 pages, I found it difficult to put down and finished it in just a few days. I highly recommend it to all teen readers who like realistic fiction. I think fans of Ellen Hopkins and Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why will devour this book.