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23 September 2009

Hate List

Hate List by Jennifer Brown is a compelling look at school violence and its aftermath.

At the end of her junior year of high school, Valerie Leftman thought things were going well. She had a boyfriend and a small group of friends who helped her battle all of the mean people in high school. In order to vent her frustration she began to write down the people and things she didn't like. When her boyfriend Nick found it, it became their hate list.

Nick used the hate list as a guide for whom to shoot in the school lunch area Valerie's (and everyone else's) world changed. At first she did not understand what was happening. When she did she tried to stop Nick - and was shot herself.

Four months later - after a summer of physical therapy and counseling - Valerie is returning to school. Though she was not a participant in the shooting, not everyone thinks she is innocent.

Jennifer Brown captures the emotions of being a teen who is put into a situation too complex to deal with. She creates a realistic picture of life after a tragedy. Hate List is an excellent book. For another thought-provoking look at the aftermath of school shootings, watch the film Home Room.

Hate List belongs in the catergory of intense, provocative group of YA novels that have something important to say or teach about a difficult subject along with books like Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak.

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

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