Updated: Jan 4
Summary: Written by Jennifer Brown, the book is about a school shooting inspired by a list of hated people and things by the main character and her boyfriend. This is not a usual book about tragedy. Both sides are given a voice: the perpetrator and the victim.
Best Aspect: Morally grey characters
After a school shooting, it would look easy to classify the good and bad guys; however, the author makes it more complex thus more interesting to read.
Not-So-Great Aspect: Nick's bullying
Yes, Nick was a victim, but the book should have shown why he was so often the target of the bullies. His bullying was basically the reason behind all the drama, and it would have been better if it was more expanded.
Most Relatable Character: Valerie Leftman.
The first-person narration was brilliant as it let the audience peek through Valerie's mind. She has her ups and downs, her pros and cons, her struggles and victories. Just like the average mortal.
Most painful scene: Valerie's fight with Jessica.
Valerie has tried her best to recover. She started to warm up to some students and get involved. However, after being threatened at a party, she realized that nothing would actually change. Afterward, she got into an argument with her only friend.
Best Character Growth: Jessica Campbell
She is the epitome of power and perfection at her school, but she used her assets in the wrong way. Being accidentally saved by Valerie was an eye-opening experience for her.
WOW moment: The time capsule
During graduation, in a memorable and heartfelt scene, Valerie and Jessica joined hands to present a memorial to all the victims of the shooting.
Most Likeable Character(s):
Dr. Hieler: He's good at what he does, and he's funny as a bonus. He took a special interest in Valerie and went beyond to help her.
Jessica Campbell: After the shooting, she didn't magically change. She was still imposing and bossy, but she used these traits to help Valerie and her school. Throughout the book, she was shown to be thoughtful, humble, and affectionate.
Favorite Quote: You can change a reality of hate by opening up to a friend, by saving an enemy […] but in order to change reality, you have to be willing to listen, and to learn, and to hear. To actually hear.
Lesson: Try to see things for what they really are to avoid prejudice and hate.