22 July 2009

Hate List; Jennifer Brown

Hate List Hate List by Jennifer Brown
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Do you remember high school? Where you hated things, like the assignments you got in Alegbra or the teacher that gave you a hard time in class or the popular kids who made fun of you? Even your parents, your best friends could sometimes end up on your Hate List. Sometimes it was people you barely knew.

Thing is, I remember feeling that way, so I understood Valerie's Hate List. What happened next, however, is different. I didn't have a crazed boyfriend who opened fire on the people on my list - she did.

Brown writes a very compelling story about how it feels to be the one that possibly set everything in motion, how difficult it is to put one foot in front of the other when everyone thinks you're guilty of something. We get flashbacks to happier times for Valerie and Nick, to the day of the shooting, and spend time with her as she heals mentally and physically.

There is one moment, when her new friend Jessica uses That Voice, the one that used to call Val "Sister Death" on her friends, that felt very real to me. Rather than having that 'aha' moment of "wow. she does this to everyone, it wasn't just to me", Val just runs away because she sees Jessica bullying her friends into allowing her to bring Val to the lunch table. The fact that the author was confident enough to let that be, to not force understanding and compassion on Val at that moment speaks volumes.

Highly recommended.

(Free ARC received from publisher)

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