The scene in the Garvin High School cafetaria, known as the Commons, is being described as “grim” by investigators who are working to identify the victims of a shooting spree that erupted Friday morning.
This was much more intense than I expected from a YA book. Of course, a high school shooting isn’t a happy subject, but the way this was handled, severely impressed me. Not just the characterizations, but also because there was absolutely no sugar-coating or cover ups.
The high school shooter is Valerie’s boyfriend. Several people are killed before she can intervene, only to watch him kill himself. And no-one saw it coming. But then a hate list is found, full of names, and people wonder if Valerie was in on it, if she’s a danger as well, if she’s the reason he did all this.
No-one trusts her, no-one can look at her, and Valerie is seriously doubting everything. Jennifer Brown brings all of it almost brutally close, no easy cop outs or pleasing solutions. Besides being about how horrible and destructive shootings are, it’s especially about people.
Hate List, Jennifer Brown, Little Brown and Company 2010