Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Valerie thought she knew her boyfriend Nick. He liked Shakespeare and hated algebra. He was smart and funny and angry and sarcastic, just like Valerie. Even though they were both outcasts at their high school, Nick always made Valerie feel like she belonged. Valerie thought she knew her boyfriend Nick. Until the day he walked into the school Commons and killed six students and one teacher, then turned the gun on himself. Until Valerie threw herself in front of Nick’s gun to stop the carnage and sustained a terrible wound to her leg. That was the moment Valerie realized she didn’t know Nick at all–at least, not this empty-eyed person who calmly gunned down their classmates one by one. Valerie is left with the terrible guilt that she possibly helped cause this catastrophic event with her Hate List, a notebook full of names of all the people who ever tormented her and Nick. “Maybe I thought I didn’t mean for those people to die, but somewhere, I don’t know, subconsciously, I really meant it. And maybe Nick saw it. Maybe he even knew something about me I didn’t even know. Maybe everybody saw it and that’s why they hate me so much—because I’m a poser. I set it all in motion with that stupid list and then let Nick do my dirty work.” Now Valerie has to put the pieces of her shattered life back together, and she’s never felt more alone. With the help of a caring psychiatrist, a crazy craft lady and an unexpected new friend, Valerie will slowly make her way out of the darkness and into a future where nothing is certain except the fact that she’s a survivor. Debut author Jennifer Brown has written a book about a complex and uncomfortable topic that is clear, compassionate and compulsively readable, a book that delves deeply into issues of consequence, survival and forgiveness. And if you want to read more about school shootings and understand how and why they occur, check out Dave Cullen’s detailed and meticulously researched nonfiction, Columbine. 2 weepies

10 thoughts on “Hate List by Jennifer Brown

  1. As soon as I read this review, I went straight to my Mom and asked if I could get this book. I recently had a school assembly talking about bullying and the Columbine shooting. It was very emotional, and I think a lot of teenagers at my school really needed to face that reality that it could happen anywhere at anytime.

    I have really wanted to find a blog like this that I could find good books for teens like me. This seems like the perfect place! I will be checking back here often, please keep it going! 😀


  2. Hi Cassidy,

    Thanks for writing in. Reading Rants has been online for 10 years, and we plan on keeping it going for as long as possible:) I’m glad you found a book that you liked and hope you come back often for more good book recommendations!

  3. I’ve just started reading this book, and it is already really good! It seems very interesting, but also very sad.

  4. I just had a school-shooting assembly at my school a few weeks ago… It was called, “Rachel’s Challenge.” It was very interesting to hear about from a student’s perspective what happened during the shooting at Columbine…

    This book looks very interesting!

  5. I read this review and I went to my mom and she said that I can get it. This book looks interesting. I can’t wait to read it. 🙂

  6. This book was absolutely brilliant! The way Jennifer Brown tells the story really just captivates you through the whole book. Although this book is sad, when you’re done, you feel like it had a happy ending. I recommend to anyone 🙂

  7. I read this book in one night i couldnt put it down, it was just soo good, at the end i cryed, i think every school should a student read this, if they only what their words did people maybe they wouldnt do it, because most school shootings are about the kid being bullied and teased, im 16, ill tell you im not the most of popular girl in school i have a few friends but not many but its enough to suit me, but i deal with bullying and teasing becuase how i look what i wear where im from, and its horrible. This book has got to be one the most amazing books i ever read, i have read many books almost my whole libary at school, but this would have to go on my number 1 best book ever, that one night i read it, i thought about the hate list and why they wrote it, and i understand that, because of they were treated, but i made my own list its kinda funny but its the love list, i put all the peoples names in my head that teased me and thought about what was best of them, but honestly i couldnt do it, becuase i didnt know who they were really were like val and nick did, they just saw what they did to them, they didnt see anything else. I was trying to maek this short, but theres so much to say about this book its amazing truely, if only people could see what these kids saw whats so sad about it cost a persons life them to relize it. I am truly honored to have been the first in my high school to read this book when i saw it i had to get it, this book is great, if you havent read it i think you should.

  8. This was a positively magnificent, inspiring, emotion, and heroic book. It is definitely a must-read and a book nearly impossible to close. All teens, parents, educators, administers, and everyone else should, without a doubt, read this book!

  9. Even though this isn’t my favorite book, I have to say it serves as a very interesting and also intensely truthful read. I saw alot of resmeblences between the school shooting situation in this novel and the Columbine shooting (which I learned more about from Dave Cullen’s book at your reccomendation) but also some differences, as this story took a more “bully vs. victim” approach to students. For some reason, this book didn’t strike an emotional chord for me. But for many, this book serves as a realistic tale of acceptance and figuring out who you were before a tragedy.

  10. At first, I thought that this book would be somewhat typical and I wasn’t sure if the author could clearly handle the emotions for this type of story. I was wrong. This is such a well written book and it really made me cry. It’s not just about the school shooting. Most of the scenes that made me cry revolved around the family life aspect of this story. This is a must read.

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