Five 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. (From Amazon.ca)
The writing in this book is amazing and well done. There are flashbacks, and it goes back and forth. We get when Valerie and Nick are in love, and they share their hate list. Then, fast forward to the present, and Valerie deals with the consequences of the hate list, memories, and tries to overcome her guilt. It doesn’t help that her life at home isn’t so great either. Overall throughout the book it just felt like Val’s got the real short end of the stick here. It’s hard not to be against her, instead you feel sympathy towards her even though her behavior was frustrating at times.
Nick, although understandably hated because of what he’s done, is somewhat painted in a sympathetic light. He was bullied, just like Val, and some of the treatment he gets does make you want to punch his tormentors in their faces. However he’s a very explosive individual and you can feel his anger and resentment.
It’s hard not to feel angry towards Nick and Val’s bullies. Some of them were just so nasty a small part of you feels they deserve a good slap in the face (Christy was the one I hated the most she was a horrible nasty creature) even after the shooting, some of Val’s classmates still acted like jerks to her you’d think they get the hint and just leave her alone. Apparently, they don’t and you’d have to wonder if the cycle would repeat.
I also hated Val’s dad. Wow, what a selfish chit. I’d understand it’s probably really hard to go through something and realize your child could possibly be a cold blooded killer, but he just did a complete turn around and was more preoccupied with himself and his nice new trophy girlfriend. It was just sickening. This was where I really felt for Val. She just lost her entire support network and had no one to rely on. On the other hand, this is where I really admired Jessica’s behavior. Despite being a previous tormentor of Val’s, she realized her actions and attempted to reach out to her, which I thought was the right thing to do and very brave of her to do so in front of her peers and the rest of the community.
I definitely recommend this book to anyone it’s a great read, it’s so well written you feel the emotions of the characters and it brings out a lot of conflicting emotions within the reader. It’s well worth the read considering the subject matter.