Review Detail

4.7 2
Young Adult Fiction 11400
The Aftermath of Terror
Overall rating
Writing Style
Valerie and her boyfriend Nick had a Hate List. It was those kids who treated them like crap, who played jokes on them, who bumped them in the hall, who called her Doctor Death because of the way she dressed, who had that Im better than you attitude. It was nothing, though; a way to vent, blow off some steam. Or so Valerie thought until May 2, 2008, when Nick walked into the Commons lunchroom and started shooting people, including Valerie, and ultimately himself. Valerie survived, but Nick didnt. She was in the hospital for a while, in the psychiatric ward for a while and was a suspect in the shooting spree for a while.

Valerie spent the summer recuperating and began her senior year in September. With the help of her therapist, Dr. Hieler, she got herself ready for the day school began. Valerie knew it was going to be tough. Many of the kids blamed her. She was sure many of the teachers felt the same way. Her parents blamed her, especially her father, when they could take time away from their bickering to think about the shooting. Nick understood her, her family situation, her thoughts, her likes and dislikes. Valerie loved him...still does regardless of what he did.

Jennifer Browns debut novel, The Hate List, shows that Ms. Brown has talent. While many novels have tackled the issue of school shootings, it has primarily been from the point of view of the shooter. The Hate List deals with the aftermath of this reign of terror from the point of view of a close friend of the shooter. But the book is so much more than that. It touches on so many issues: the impact on children of parents who dont get along, the fact that adults dont listen to each other, let alone teenagers, the impact of bullying which is denied by school officials. Brown shows how school administrators might put a positive spin on the aftermath of a school shooting, stating that the children have learned love and forgiveness, when indeed, nothing has changed.

Brown as has tackled a difficult subject in a moving and tender way. Nick had no one to talk to about his issues except Valerie, who was powerless and unaware that his feelings ran so deep. Her life after the shooting changed in so many ways. The Hate List is a must read book. I look forward to more works by Ms. Brown.
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