Published: Little Brown and Company, 2009
Paperback, 408 pages
Borrowed from Library
On May 2nd 2008, the students of Garvin High's lives were forever changed. Nick Levil, a quiet and angry Junior, opened fire in their Common area killing many students and himself. This story is told from his girlfriend Valerie's point of view and picks up months after the event.
I thought that I was going to read a book about a high school shooting. I wasn't sure what I was expecting really. Gruesome details? Psycho reasons behind orchestrating a mass murder? I don't know. But what I got was a gorgeous, realistic and poignant story of what happens after such a tragedy.
I didn't know how to feel about the MC Valerie. She seemed aloof, self hating and almost whiny. So when we were hearing most of the story from her point of view, I was almost disappointed. But this was only temporary. When she started piecing her life together and introducing us to the her dysfunctional family dynamic, her relationship with the shooter Nick & the HATE LIST itself, I understood how extremely tragic her character is. She is as complex as she is simple. She is as scared as she is bold. She is as sad as she is angry. She's all these things that can't be explained and the best part is that the author takes you along with her as she tries to figure these things out.
Secondary characters like her friends, her enemies and the therapist Dr. Heiler round this story out to be an absolute winner for me. Another example of how the author bends your perspective is the way she made me feel about Valerie's Dad vs the way I feel about Nick the shooter. While Nick murdered all of these students, I loved him and I felt sorry for him. I wished he were alive for more of the book and almost want her to write a prequel from his point of view. Conversely, without giving away any story, I'll just say, I hate her Dad and he didn't kill anyone.
In conclusion, I loved HATE LIST. Despite some of the sections that dragged on a little, I think it is a complete win. This book gets 4 out of 4 stars from me. I highly, highly recommend this book to any and everyone especially those who are fans of YA Fiction about self-realization and incorporates realistic high drama.