First Book Review! Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Hello Readers!

Welcome to my very first book review. Today I’d like to discuss the book, Hate List written by Jennifer Brown. Valerie is a high school student who comes back on the first day of school after a tragedy in May. What tragedy, you ask? Her boyfriend Nick brought a gun to school and killed multiple people, including himself.


Valerie is picking up the pieces from what happened that dreadful day as well as how she can heal physically and emotionally while being blamed for the acts of her deceased boyfriend. Students knew they were dating, they were both outcasts. If he did this, Valerie must be to blame, right?

The answers are all in this book. Brown does a really good job of not sugar-coating the trauma students feel after such an event happens. It isn’t just Valerie trying to heal from this– it’s her teachers, classmates, friends and family. The book explains how Nick was before that day (May 2, 2008) as well as what happened that morning that he brought the gun to school. She goes through a journey of self-discovery with an unexpected friend by her side as well as a quirky psychiatrist.

The book is serious with its small bits of humor. There’s a good organization to the book, with some chapters starting with newspaper articles about the students that were directly impacted by the shooting. I thought the articles were just page-filling back story at first, but the stories all tie in at the end of this novel. I really disliked a few characters, especially Valerie’s father. He is a lawyer that fights with his wife constantly and is just a jerk for the majority of the book. As I kept reading I disliked him even more. (Seriously… he’s a jerk.)

I give this book a 4-star rating. Why not 5?

I really think it would have been interesting to read the point of view of other characters, or maybe even have a couple of chapters revolving around Nick specifically. I realize that’s difficult because in this situation not many people know exactly what is going through the minds of these people. It still would have been interesting to have more of that. I know, it’s Valerie’s journey, not Nick’s, so I’ll put my personal opinions on that to the back burner.

That’s all for today!

Enjoy reading!


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