Hate List by Jennifer Brown | Rating: ★★★★★
“We all got to be winners sometimes. But what he didn’t understand was that we all had to be losers, too. Because you can’t have one without the other.”
Every now and then I stumble upon a novel that touches my heart and gives me something to learn. A novel that is as realistic as it is well written. One that shows us the effects certain events have upon us and how we never truly know the suffering of others, no matter how well we think we know them.
And that at the end of the day, people can surprise you in the worst sort of way.
Then there’s the other kind of surprises that prove to you that maybe, just maybe, things happen for a reason and not everyone is how they once were.
In this novel we meet the narrator as a teenager who’s boyfriend had brought a gun to their high school and opened fire on some classmates that they put on a list. A Hate List. Although, our main girl didn’t have any real idea of how badly this list would grow and the consequences that would arise when life gains a lead and others lose control.
Bullying is such a problem in this day and age that this novel, or others like it, should really be a standard reading material for kids of many ages. It shows us the outlasting effects of bullying and reminds us that if you push somebody to far, and act too cruelly to your peers, the outcome is sometimes laced in tragedy.
While reading this you notice the way she feels guilt over having
made this list to begin with, not knowing that the outcome would be
something so shattering to the lives of her classmates. You also get a
sense of bravery when it comes down to this girls decision to save the
life of one classmate, putting herself in front of this girl and being
the one shot. Valerie is also very brave in the sense that she continues
to wake up every morning and try.
Trying is ultimately the most important thing when faced with tragedy. Moving on and embracing life as it comes.
But this of course takes effort and though it is forced, she is still
a brave girl in the world that Jennifer creates for us. It’s all
thought provoking, and so lifelike — real, raw. There’s a truth in this
novel she manages to capture, that many authors or television series
have tried to portray unsuccessfully. Hate List has all the makings of a real life tragedy and the roles we play in it.
Overall it is a very surprising, intense read that will leave you thinking about it nearly nonstop.