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Hate List
by Jennifer Brown
ISBN: 978-0-316-04145-4
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Date of Publication: 2009

Reader’s Annotation:
Valerie Leftman must deal with the physical and emotional aftermath after her boyfriend opens fire at their high school.

Plot Summary:
One day, without warning, Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend Nick, opens fire in their high school cafeteria. Six students were killed with Nick ending the violence with his suicide. As the school reels from the tragedy, the reasons for the attack are questioned and the blame falls on part on Valerie. For Nick and Valerie had created a list of people for whom they hated; people who have wronged them in the past and for which Nick and Valerie felt threatened. While the list was meant to be a release for Valerie, it turned into a declaration of intent for Nick.

Five months after the attack Valerie is beginning to heal. She’s about to finish her last year of high school. But first Valerie must come to grips with Nick’s act of violence and the part she played in his life.

Critical Evaluation:
Drawing inspiration from a song lyric by the band Nickelback, author Jennifer Brown’s novel of personal redemption is a timely story, which unfortunately still populates our modern news. Told through the eyes of Valerie, the story is more about personal redemption versus the reasoning behind school violence. Brown’s take on the violence of Nick can be considered harsh in that Brown is graphic in her descriptions. Brown does not present the incident with rose-colored glasses and the reader might finds their level of shock to be on par with Valerie’s reactions.

The aftermath of Nick’s destruction is treated with care, but like the violence in the cafeteria, the reality is not rosy. Valerie suffers guilt in her role of the incident and the reader might be inclined to be less than supportive of the Valerie’s character. The supporting cast of character. In the end, Brown has produced a quality book that should be read by anyone who has suffered from bullying.

Information about the Author:
From Jennifer Brown’s Webpage, Brown, a graduate of William Jewell College, is a former columnist with The Kansas City Star. She left the position to become a novelist. She has written three young adult titles, with a fourth to be released in 2013 and a fifth in 2014.

Brown began as humor writer but started to write the Hate List due to a Nickelback song lyric that lingered in her mind. Brown was bullied herself in high school and understands the toll of being a victim of bullying actions.

Jennifer Brown on Twitter

Jennifer Brown on Facebook

Genre:
Realistic Fiction

Curriculum Ties:
Personal Identity, Social Identity

Booktalking Ideas:
Are there levels of anger?
How does bullying affect your life?

Reading Level/Interest Age:
Kirkus Reviews has a listing for ages 19-20. Given the nature of the material, this book should be listed as ages 15 and up.

Challenge Issues:
Hate List has been challenged due to the book’s violence and its language. In Blue Springs, a school district in the Kansas City area, a group of parents protested nine out of fifteen books that were on a freshmen extra credit list.

The American Library Association’s Guide to Library Materials Challenges is a great resource if the book is challenged in the future.

Why did I include this book in the title selections?
I had picked this book up on a whim during my summer vacation. The subject matter is an important one in light of the bully issue in school as well as the rise of school violence.

Reference:
Brown, J. (n.d.). Bio Retrieved from http://www.jenniferbrownya.com/bio.htm

Brown, J. (n.d.). FAQ. Retrieved from http://www.jenniferbrownya.com/faq.htm

Kirkus Reviews. (2010). Hate List. Retrieved from https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/jennifer-brown/hate-list/

Miller, S. (2011). Blue Springs parents want books banned from school library. Examiner.com. Retrieved from http://www.examiner.com/article/blue-springs-parents-want-books-banned-from-school-library

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