Author: Jennifer Brown
Genre: Young Adult
Review: I enjoyed Jennifer Brown's Perfect Escape last Christmas and decided to pick up Hate List, which also seems quite highly rated (and praised by Chad). Turned out that Hate List, while quite different, is no less enjoyable in its own way.
The premise of the book is that Valerie comes to school one day, business as usual, and meets up with her boyfriend Nick, who proceeds to open fire in the cafeteria, killing students he and Valerie hate, shooting her, and killing himself.
The narrative jumps around telling of Valerie's recovery from the event, her first day back to school, and back to how she met and fell in love with Nick. I liked the way the book was structured, it kept up a sense of suspense despite the reader knowing pretty much what happened from the very beginning of the book. I stayed up late reading the novel and enjoyed every moment of it.
The compelling part for me is that Valerie was very easy to relate to. The way she reacts to events, her relationship with her friends and family, her coping, it all felt natural and genuine. She is a regular teenager with bigger problems than most and watching her cope is touching. It's interesting to watch the variety of reactions to the event: is she a villain or a hero or both?
Overall, it was a very quick and enjoyable read, I will definitely keep an eye out for Jennifer Brown's novels.