Hate List is one of the intriguing, catchy and compelling books which makes you think deeply about every side of a crime. A criminal is rejected and punished by the society to justify the victims. The question arises when a criminal is a victim of the society. This book deals with the aftermath of a school shooting. Whenever we watch a news channel, we don't realise how deeply any incident affects the people related to it. This book shows us different sides of a crime, a criminal and the society to emphasise that not everything can be categorised as good or bad.
Valerie returns back to her school after her boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on the school cafeteria resulting the deaths and the injuries of the students. She is implicated to the killing as she was involved with Nick to create the Hate List which Nick used to pick his targets. Even though she saved the life of her fellow classmate, she is blamed by everyone including her own family for being part of the shooting. The best thing is that the book neither superficial nor depressing. It deals with the hardest stuff without making it overwhelming, preachy and judgemental. Valerie is a pessimistic, complex and a tad whiny character but considering what she went through, I think anyone who'd be in her shoes would've done the same. The author has done a great job in writing Valerie’s point of view. Her transformation is endearing which gives an unfeigned edge to the book. We can't agree with Nick's actions but at the same time, we feel sad for him because of his vulnerability. The author tried her best to show that everyone isn't the stereotypical characters as we assume them to be.
I couldn't connect to the book as much I wanted to. The unsupportive nature of Valerie’s parents and at the end, of her brother irked me. Jeremy wasn't included in the rest of the book even though he was one of the characters who influenced Nick negatively. Overall, it's one of the powerful book with a beautiful story. It's one of the rare books YA contemporary books which doesn't include romance so if you're fine with it, you can read the book.