Becky Jackman writes today: Hate List by Jennifer Brown is an amazing book. I cried while I first read it and I cried again a week later when I reread most of it. Valerie Leftman tells her story by alternating between the present and the past, and through newspaper articles. The newspaper articles are about the school shootings that Valerie’s boyfriend, Nick, committed and for which Valerie may or may not have been responsible.
Valerie is wounded during the shootings, but the story is about her emotional healing. Valerie struggles with coming to grips about what happened and her part in it. Her family, her friends, and her school all have to deal with some of the same issues that Valerie is working through. The story is emotionally gripping in several places and once the story grabs you, you can’t put the book down.
I wholeheartedly recommend the book to all young adult librarians and I would like to thank Lisa Von Drasek from EarlyWord Kids and Victoria Stapleton from Little, Brown Young Readers for the wonderful opportunity to read this story. Hate List will be available in September 2009 from Little, Brown Young Readers. Please add it to your collections.
Becky Jackman, School Librarian for Northeast High School in Clarksville, TN is also the Tennessee Association of School Librarians President-Elect. You can email Becky here.
Note from Diane: I would love to have chimed in with my comments about this book, but, readers, I am still waiting for a copy. See… not all of us get every book before it’s published. Sometimes we have to pine away for the book, listening to the buzz, and waiting for publication day. I appreciate Becky’s writing this review since she couldn’t stop telling me how much she enjoyed the book. I have forgiven her for lending her ARC to everyone else she knows before me. Well, maybe there is still a little pouting on my part, but I promise, Becky, that you are on my happy friend’s list.