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Showing 1-10 of 189 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 363 reviews
on December 28, 2016
This was one tough read, but well worth the stars.

By tough, I mean the subject matter. School shootings are almost common these days. Sadly. People blame it on bullying, harassment, mental problems...and this book gives a point of view from someone on the "inside" of the shooting.

Valerie Leftman. She was the girlfriend of the shooter, Nick Levil. She was also a victim of his. And she saved other students from their demise. The book is from her POV and it covers many times--before the shooting when life seemed like rainbows with Nick, during the morning of the shooting, and the entire aftermath of life, in school and out.

She feels partly responsible because Nick was using their list of things they hate: the people that bullied them relentlessly to algebra because letters and numbers can't add. That list, almost a character in itself, was nothing but the grievances and stresses getting out there into the world. It made Valerie feel better, but Nick...

Well, he did shoot up the school.

This story was dark. It seemed there were more horrible occurrences than happy ones. Is that because the voice is of s girl who is depressed and she brings it down? Or is it the realities of life with the horrible things that go on in schools because those who feel they are "entitled" don't receive any consequences for their actions along with the horrible life at home?

I had to switch to something more carefree while reading this, because it just pulls you under in the deep end, and you have to surface and take a breath. I found myself crying or teary or angry. But no matter how down I felt, there was something making me read on and on.

The end (no spoilers, I promise) was not really an ending to Valerie's story. It was left open, maybe meaning that the future could be happy for her...or get worse...depending on what you wanted for her. I thought maybe there would be a sequel, as this one came out years ago, but nothing [yet] on Valerie's story.

A very good read. Maybe an important read for some circles. I would have loved to have someone read this with me so we could discuss the heavy issues and emotions, maybe use some of the questions and discussions in the guides beyond the stories...
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on March 10, 2015
Hate list will be a difficult book for some and a refreshing one for others. For me it was a refreshing and easy read. I devoured it in two days and would have been one if I had not made myself take breaks because of my eyes hurting.
Valerie and Nick are dating and outcast in their high school. As most people can attest to high school can be rough and hard to get through. There is often bullying, social anxiety, and an array of other problems children often face. Valerie, trying to get rid of some frustrations starts a list of things that she hates, this list also includes names of people she hates. Valerie and Nick relish in this list but Nick takes it one step farther when he starts shooting kids at their high school.
Hate List deals with a lot of issues, school shootings, hate, bullying, cliques, family dynamic, and how hard peer-pressure can often be. For that reason I really found this book a great and easy read. There was nothing so graphic that it made it hard to read and would be suitable for any teen to read. I would actually recommend every teen possible read this!
A well written book that tells a story that is not talked about enough! Well worth the money and time to read this.
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on January 4, 2014
As someone in Colorado at the time of Columbine, and can remember that day and the ones that followed, this was a book I felt very compelled to read.

Valerie's boyfriend went on a shooting spree through the school. His victims were ones that he and Valerie had put on a "hate list." It was a way to release steam for her, but for him, it was more. So when the truth comes out after the shooting, it's hard to not blame Valerie for at least part of it. Even though she was the one that got in the way and stopped Nick from hurting more people.

Valerie makes the brave decision to go back to the high school for her senior year. She's faced with the uncertainty of acceptance and having to face all those people that knew they were on the list. The school has been changed and soon, one of the girls that had been on the list reaches out to her, and helps her find some acceptance within the school and with herself.

I was moved to tears at the end of this book. It was one of the most emotional ending I have ever read, and I applaud Brown for tackling this subject with grace and respect and writing one of the best books I have ever read.
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on January 16, 2016
Grade: A-

When Valerie starts a HATE LIST of people who bullied her and treated her unkindly. She doesn't expect her boyfriend Nick to use that list for targets in a school shooting. Now Valerie is headed back to school to face classmates who probably wish she died in the shooting. With the help of a psychologist and an unlikely new friend, Valerie struggles to recover from the guilt and trauma she experienced.

Valerie's character was easy for me to get inside her head. She started her HATE LIST as a way of venting her frustrations with her dysfunctional family and the popular kids at school, never knowing it would snowball. How could she have known her boyfriend was capable of such carnage. I empathized with her struggles before and after the shooting. She was a fairly well rounded character. Jennifer Brown did a good job giving all her characters a certain amount of depth.

Brown used compelling voice in Valerie's narration. I like how she also included newspaper articles as a way to introduce readers to those who were shot by Nick. Brown researched trauma and recovery and accurately depicted Val's struggle to move on with her life. While HATE LIST had some degree of closure, a lot was left open ended, of which I'm not a fan.

THEMES: bullying, violence, high school, family, friendship, mental illness, PTSD

HATE LIST is a realistic story of recovering from a school shooting.
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on September 12, 2009
Hate List by Jennifer Brown is a terrific book on many levels. First, there is the main plot where Valerie Leftman struggles to come to terms with the fact that she was the girlfriend of a school shooter, Nick, whom she had unwittingly abetted in the shooting. This fact leaves her with mixed feelings of guilt and anger. She must also work out her feelings of love and compassion for this boy, whom Brown has painted as a real human being rather than a stereotypically bad individual. Brown artfully engages the reader to journey along with Valerie as she explores and comes to terms with her role in, and the consequential suffering from the shooting.

Secondly, this is a book about teenage angst and real high school tension that takes place in everyday circumstances. Additionally, Valerie has parents that have their own issues and shortcomings. Brown weaves a thread of pain through the family dynamics, as well as the high school dynamics that is realistic and insightful. This gives the reader insight into Valerie's anger as she and Nick create the Hate List as almost an inside joke.

Thirdly, this book is about a process of moving from mental anguish and mental instability to mental health through a few various factors. It takes a knowledgeable and caring therapist. It takes courage from Valerie to take many baby steps to work through the process. It takes persistence from Valerie to not give up when the process was so difficult that it seemed impossible. It also takes a change in focus from Valerie as she must not read too much into each encounter or conversation. Finally, it just takes time as she matures from adolescence into adulthood.

Brown captures these levels by intricately growing the reader's understanding of Valerie by moving easily back and forth in time from before the shooting to the results after the shooting. Readers can easily identify with the mental turmoil because Brown has captured the essence of high school relationships so common in adolescence.

I highly recommend this book to young adults, as well as adults of all ages. It especially gives hope to all who are struggling. I predict this will be a best seller.
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on July 5, 2013
Jennifer Brown has created a book that makes us look at possible reasons why these things happen. I am in no way making excuses for these killers. However, as I read her book I began to look at my life and do some comparing. Funny the things we think about and things we learn.

Valerie Leftman is the main character in this story. It is the story of being left behind after a tragic event has occurred. It is the story of trying to make sense of the world both before and after so that you can move forward with your life. Valerie's boyfriend Nick did the unthinkable. He went into a school and killed several kids. Valerie saved a life, getting shot in the process. Nick then killed himself. The problem is that everyone believes that Valerie was behind this plot and that Nick just carried it out. Why would they think that? They had a hate list. I immediately thought back to the first "slam book" I confiscated. The girl was anxious to get it back and I didn't know why until I opened it up. It was filled with the names of people she didn't like and why. I turned it over to the principal. We took all of these kinds of things seriously as we were fresh out of the Columbine shooting the year before. It turned out the girl's parents were going through a divorce, her brother was leaving for college and her best friend had just been killed in an accident. She was different, which seems funny now that I think back. I worked in an arts school so to me everyone was unique. She was venting her frustration out through that slam book. When does a journal, slam book become something more? I wondered this because I often give kids a journal when I know they are going through a lot of garbage and tell them they can feel free to write whatever they need to get it out of their system. When does it actually go bad?

I kept seeing the people who had called Valerie names and made fun of her and her friends, getting by with things. It was so unfair. She felt like she had no one on her side including her parents. That is why I take all acts of bullying seriously in my classroom and school. Having parents that don't believe in you for whatever reason only adds to that stress.

Okay, so here is where I tell you something personal. I understood how Valerie felt when her parents didn't believe her innocence. In their eyes she was guilty by association. When in eighth grade I had a friend who was doing drugs. Sitting in art class one day I was defending my right to be her friend. I passed a note to the student I was talking with and it was confiscated. I heard nothing from anyone. I just assumed the teacher had thrown the note away. My parents had been called to the school where they went through all of my things in my "open-faced" (as in no door) locker looking for drugs. Then they did the same thing with my room. They wanted to know where I kept the drugs. There were none. I was grounded and had to go to the school counselor twice a week for the rest of the school year because of my association with "those" kids. My cousins thought this was so funny.. It was years later one of my cousins told my mom that as she lay in a hospital after an overdose in school she started laughing thinking about her and the other cousins doing drugs and never being suspected while I had been accused of something I didn't do. I felt totally betrayed and it took a long time, as in years to repair the damage done to our relationship. This is one of the themes that runs throughout this book. The theme of broken relationships. This should be a must read for every kid and teacher from middle grade up. I know I will have parents say, "But, I don't want my kids being exposed to that kind of stuff." Wake up parents, they are exposed to that and so much more every day. Let's teach kids what are actually out there and how to deal with it.
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on July 27, 2014
This was a terrible and heartbreaking story. Valerie Leftman's life will never be the same. Her boyfriend and the boy she loved opened fire in their school cafeteria. She was even shot trying to talk him down. It is now five months later and she is having to go back to school with everyone blaming her. Yes, Nick was her boyfriend but she didn't know what he was planning to do. She even helped come up with the "Hate List" but it was just people that tortured them. We have all done stupid things and there was no way she could know what he was going to do. Val has so much guilt because she didn't see what he was going to do but also because she still loves that "monster." Everyone views Nick as a monster but no one is completely 100% evil or guilty. There is always someone that loves them or loved them. People are always saying that the people closest to them had to have known what they were up to or what they were thinking. But no one knows anyone 100%, there are always things we keep hidden inside.

This story is so worth reading because it gives you another point of view in these types of things.

There is evil in this world but there are also things that drive people to do things. I'm not saying people that do school shootings were made to do these things. I don't think monsters are born, I think they are made. I will never understand how someone can do that to others but I agree with the saying "some men just want to watch the world burn." They are so hurt and in pain that they want as many people to hurt as they do.
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on January 27, 2013
Valerie was strong. Nick tried to be, but sometimes people can't be helped if nobody notices that they've been needing to be helped for a long time. I think this is a big part of what the book is about. Noticing people. And noticing that what you do affects everyone you come into contact with and noticing that what you do might not always affect them in a good way. I can't begin to describe how proud I am of Valerie. She endured bullying, the surprising shooting of the school by a boy she loved very much and his death. Her family and others who saw her as more of a villain than a hero. Her best friends not even acknowledging her presence anymore. A gun being aimed at her time and time again. Betrayal of the utmost pain. Being shot and recovering. Her parents divorcing. The things they said to her.......all those things could make a person want to commit suicide themselves but she, with the help of the few that noticed the good in her when even she didn't, was strong enough to fight her way out of her past and look towards a brighter future. I felt so sorry for Nick, sorry that he was bullied when he was such a nice guy, sorry that he felt the only way to deal with the bullies was with violence, sorry that no one noticed his talks of death had gone from fiction to non-fiction, sorry that it was too late. Valerie herself also noticed how hate can turn into destruction. She noticed how selfish she had been, but then again I can't say I would have acted much different than her. I think if people took the time to notice that their actions could possibly have a bad affect on people then acts of violence would not be able to be released unto the world.
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on January 11, 2014
The Hate List is absolutely amazing. We always here a victims point of view, hearing how the "bad guy" destroyed and ruined their life, but they got it back on track and lived happily ever after.

Hate List did NOT do this. And I am so glad it didn't.

It told about different levels of people, how everyone is the victim, not just the ones shot, but the shooter himself. Val is the perfect character because while she still loves Nick, it seems she understands that he was the bad guy because he did kill so many.
But he wasn't the stereotype "Did it because I wanted to" type killer.
He was sick of people bulling him, and it got really in-depth.
I honestly think that if it would have had a happy ending instead if the one it had, us not really getting an ending but a resolve, it would have ruined the book.

I would recommend this to everyone. Really loved it!!!!!
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on June 5, 2013
This book steps away from the normal teen angst story line, yet still deals with the major issues. I liked the first person narration as it made the reader able to understand how the heroine allowed herself to be sucked in. I found the relationship between her and her "new best friend" somewhat unbelievable, as was her father's reaction to the events. Her doctor was a well-constructed character. I would have liked to understand Nick's motivation a bit more, but see why that wasn't possible within the limits of first person narration.
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