Hate List – Jennifer Brown

Hi guys! #cheatbook

Have you ever had this strange experience that when you watch a TV series about a certain theme or read a book about a theme then somehow this theme seems to pop regularly in the next books or TV series over a certain period of time? Well this is the experience I sit with right now. This was a book-cheat in my case since I used StoryTel to listen to it since I don’t have time to read books at the moment.

We meet Valerie at the beginning of her senior year which will show to be anything but easy. Before the summer started there had been a school shooting. Val was injured along with several others and both students and a teacher was killed. For Val this had an important impact on her life because her boyfriend was the one behind the shooting. It had all started with the Hate list. This was a list with names, things and events that Val used to get out their anger at the world. It was supposed to be harmless, but it turned out to become fatal. Val has to experience her senior year quite differently than she expected, but it also contains certain nice surprises and unexpected friendships. She feels alone and like an outcast more than ever. The shooting affected many of her classmates and she is not the only one that struggles with the aftermath of the shooting. Her parents is on a rough path too and their behavior affects how Val and her brother copes with everything that goes on.

I watched the TV series 13 Reasons Why during Easter break and that show and this book has several common themes. Mostly how people can be cruel to one another, both knowingly and unknowingly. The Hate list started as mentioned as something innocent for a girl to get out her frustration on the world, but someone took it as something completely else. Valerie never meant for anything bad to happen to the people/things/events on the list, but her boyfriend was not of the same opinion. Both Valerie and Nick came from troubled families and they understood each other on different levels. Nick had moved to the area during freshman year, but he didn’t ask Val out before sophomore year, already then he seemed to become angry. Their connection was special, and I assume that the saying; birds of feather flock together is a good picture of the whole situation.

Val goes back to school, but she struggles. She lives in a contradicting situation. Some think her a hero and some thinks her a victim.  At the same time, I think she gets a little bit too swooped up in playing the victim of the situation, and fails to see that some people around her try to change their behaviour towards her. I have never experienced any kind of school shooting or tragedy up close, so I can’t even start to imagine what kind of impact that may have on your life. With everything I learn through my schooling I’m getting slightly better at not judging everything right away, and some scars can’t be seen.

It is a very good book and I like the themes it brings up. It is important to view both sides of the situation, both the victim and the heroes. The book puts a lot of things into perspective when it comes to high school life. Some cliques are popular and some are not, and that can make a very big impact on some people. Sometimes that can be fatal, for that person or several other people and maybe not so much on a physical level, but more on the psychological one. We should all be kind to one another, although in this world it seems to be pretty hard.

I would not recommend this book to people who are too young however, it can be a pretty strong book for young minds.

Published: 2009

Genre: Novel

Theme: School shooting, cruelty, new beginnings

– The Book Reader

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