CAUTION: POSSIBLE SPOILERS
I started this book knowing it would be tough for me to read. By tough, I mean heart-breaking. I read Columbine by Dave Cullen, or should I say I tried to read it, but it was too much pain for me to finish. My heart just went out to those students, parents and all those involved. Just terrifying and so much pain. So I knew by reading this I may not finish it. I would also be jostling feelings for both sides. I'd say that is probably my favorite part of this entire book. It portrays the side of Valerie, the girlfriend of the shooter and how she lives her life after her boyfriend decides to shoot up the school without any indication to her.
It was simply amazing how Jennifer Brown went in to how Valerie actually started the Hate List: a list of people that annoy or make fun of her and her boyfriend and how it turns into the basis of the reason her boyfriend makes the choices he does. I felt so much for Valerie and her guilt over thinking she had a part in it all. How she should have known it was going to happen and did she feel like she had pulled the trigger, even though she never touched the gun.
This story was a bit more tame than Columbine and yet, Brown didn't cut back on any of the emotional pilings up.
I truly enjoyed the way the author took the time to show sides from the popular side to the so called "outcasts" and how they were before and changed afterward, if at all.
It is a read I would love for my 14 year old niece to read. I would love to hear how she feels about all the characters in the story. I find this would be a great way to open up the conversation about being bullied and being the bullier. A sad, but experienced thing growing up as a child.