Spitfire Review: The Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Spitfire Review: The Hate List by Jennifer Brown

Hello everyone and welcome to another Spitfire Review. This time I’m reviewing The Hate List by Jennifer Brown.


The Hate List was first published in 2009 and has won several notable awards and received critical acclaim. The focus of the book is on the aftermath of a school shooting in America. Val is trying to put her life back together after her boyfriend Nick opens fire in their school killing students, staff and then himself. The victims of the shooting were chosen from a hate list that Nick and Val created together.

There is a trend in Young Adult literature to deal with adult themes. As stated above the novel deals with a school shooting, a disturbing topic in our society as well as touching upon themes like the education system, recovering from a loss, family and bullying.

The best aspect of the book is the deliciously complicated characters. Val was the only student to know Nick, she thinks he isn’t the monster that everyone else sees. Nick saw Val as a willing accomplice. The rest of the characters either see Val as a hero for taking a bullet or see her as responsible for the massacre.

My one criticism of the novel is that it jumps around. For example, one chapter starts in the school, then there is a flashback to the doctors then another flashback to the day of the shooting and then you’re back at school having lunch thinking about a family row that happened in the morning. It’s sometimes hard to follow and I had to read the page again to see where I was.

Regardless, I enjoyed The Hate List and would recommend it to all. I’ll give the book 7/10.

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