The Hate List by Jennifer Brown Review by Alyssa Marcum

The Hate List months ago, Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.

Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life.


No matter what your age or race or gender, everyone has gone through a tough time in their life one time or another. In the book, The Hate List by Jennifer Brown a girl named Valerie was dating a school shooter, but she didn’t realize it at the time. Valerie already had a hard enough time with her life before the shooting occurred. Her parents fought all the time and she didn’t have many friends. That’s when the thought came to her to make the “Hate List.” It was a list of everything she hated. After the school shooting, she lost everything that was important to her. She lost her boyfriend because he took his own life. What if that happened to you? However three things that really stood out to me in this book were the setting, characters, and theme.

The very first thing that stood out to me in this book was the setting. This book starts out a little different than most books. In the beginning of this book, it starts off by using a news report about the school shooting. As I read the book, it gave me more and more ideas and clues to what had happened the day of the shooting. By the end of the book, you will know everything that happened and the after effect of the shooting one year later. The setting also has great details that left me in suspense.

In this story, the characters really stood out to me as well. They all played an important part of the story that ties the events together, at the end of the book. At the beginning of the story, you get a feel for how the characters are but by the end of the story your feelings may change like mine did.


Have you ever been in a situation that you just don’t know what to do? You don’t want to make a decision or you don’t want to take a risk? Well, in this story, Valerie has to make some very hard decisions and she didn’t know who to trust. She has to decide either will go back to school or stay home and be home schooled. She had to choose to either go back to her old friends or be alone, and she had to make plans for college. By the end of this story, she had made some hard decisions and went through a lot of tough times. She realizes that she had to move on past the incident of the school shooting that had happened months before. She made plans to go on to college.

By the end of this book, you start to think about how good your life really is. Other people have a much harder life than you do. Even if this book is just realistic fiction, you realize that these things really do happen. Tragedy can happen anywhere and anytime it has happened in the past and it will happen in the future. In the book, Valerie was dating a boy that later became known as the school shooter. He shot Valerie in the leg and later shot himself, sadly ending his own life.  Valerie had went through a lot and she had to listen to her parent’s argue all the time. Later in the story, Valerie finds out shocking things about her mother and fathers relationship, but in the end, she turns out stronger than ever. Sometimes I feel like people don’t realize that life may be tough now but hopefully things will get better. You have work at making your life better.






2 responses

  1. Alyssa,

    This sounds like a very interesting book, and your book review makes me want to read the book. I would just like to offer a few suggestions. You have an interesting thesis statement, but I also think that it is a little confusing. You stated, “However three things that really stood out to me in book were the setting, charterers and theme.” I don’t understand why you used the word “however.” I’m not sure if you were trying to connect it to the previous sentence, which is fine, but I would try to make the connection a little more clear. I noticed that you have a lot of details in your introduction and conclusion, which is great. I would suggest that you add more details to each of your body paragraphs, especially the paragraph that describes the characters. You mentioned that the characters stood out to you. Which characters did you like best? You could possibly describe a few of your favorite characters, and using quotes and specific examples from the book will also help you explain why you liked the characters. You also mentioned that your feelings about the characters changed by the end of the book. I would suggest describing how your feelings changed and why. You could use quotes to explain how your feelings changed once you finished the book. Using specific quotes and examples always helps your readers have a better understanding of your point or argument. I really like that you provide your own thoughts and opinions in the conclusion. I would like to hear more of your opinions. Do you think others will enjoy this book? Would you recommend this book? Overall, I think your book review was great, and I look forward to reading more of your work.

    -Chassidy Marcum

    1. alyssamarcum1213 | Reply

      Thank you Chassidy. As I read back over my review, after I read your response, I completely agreed with everything you had to say. I will defiantly read over my review a little more closely next time to avoid mistakes and errors. I will also be adding more of my opinions and using examples from the books I read. There are a few things that I feel I need some help with though. As I read my review I noticed that maybe I should add some more advanced vocabulary words to grab the attention of my readers. Thanks for the advice and I hope you read and enjoy my future reviews.

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