Wow, oh, wow.
That’s the immediate reaction I have to the Hate List. Thirty years out of high school and Jennifer Brown took me right back. I wasn’t going to read this book. Really, another book about school shootings, I don’t think so… Yet, I picked it off the pile this morning and couldn’t put it down.
Not giving anything away… sixteen-year-old Valerie’s boyfriend Nick came to school one day, armed and proceeded to begin shooting the students on their “hate list.” The bullying jock, the snotty perfect girl… Brown captures the guilt and confusion of the survivors as well as the casual cruelty of the in-crowd kids. Brown’s gift is that, as the story unfolds, we realize that the world is not black-and-white and we are as naïve as the narrator as we try to process the defining event.
In the first-person narrative from Valerie’s point of view, the events of that horrific day are interspersed with her recovery and return to school for her senior year. It is rare for a young adult novel to capture both the teen experience while also creating three-dimensional grown-ups. Brown succeeds in not only portraying Valerie’s complicated parents’ relationship but also her process of inching back to mental health with her therapist.
Who is this book for? Anyone who works with kids, anyone may have created their own “hate list” and anyone who has experienced 3rd period algebra as a social environment that would put Lord of the Flies to shame.
Ed. Note: Don’t want to wait until September to read The Hate List. Good news; Little Brown’s head of library marketing, Victoria Stapleton, is making a limited number of galleys available for EarlyWord readers.
To enter to win a copy, just send an email to EarlyWord, with “Hate List, please!” in the subject line, by 11:59 p.m, this Friday, June 26th. Don’t forget to include your UPS shipping address (no P.O. box numbers), so Victoria will know where to send your galley.
This offer is only available to librarians residing within the 50 United States.