Posts Tagged ‘Jennifer Brown’
Five months ago, Valerie Leftman’s boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria. Shot trying to stop him, Valerie inadvertently saved the life of a classmate, but was implicated in the shootings because of the list she helped create. A list of people and things she and Nick hated. The list he used to pick his targets.
Now, after a summer of seclusion, Val is forced to confront her guilt as she returns to school to complete her senior year. Haunted by the memory of the boyfriend she still loves and navigating rocky relationships with her family, former friends and the girl whose life she saved, Val must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it, in order to make amends and move on with her life. (From Amazon.ca)
The writing in this book is amazing and well done. There are flashbacks, and it goes back and forth. We get when Valerie and Nick are in love, and they share their hate list. Then, fast forward to the present, and Valerie deals with the consequences of the hate list, memories, and tries to overcome her guilt. It doesn’t help that her life at home isn’t so great either. Overall throughout the book it just felt like Val’s got the real short end of the stick here. It’s hard not to be against her, instead you feel sympathy towards her even though her behavior was frustrating at times.
Nick, although understandably hated because of what he’s done, is somewhat painted in a sympathetic light. He was bullied, just like Val, and some of the treatment he gets does make you want to punch his tormentors in their faces. However he’s a very explosive individual and you can feel his anger and resentment.
It’s hard not to feel angry towards Nick and Val’s bullies. Some of them were just so nasty a small part of you feels they deserve a good slap in the face (Christy was the one I hated the most she was a horrible nasty creature) even after the shooting, some of Val’s classmates still acted like jerks to her you’d think they get the hint and just leave her alone. Apparently, they don’t and you’d have to wonder if the cycle would repeat.
I also hated Val’s dad. Wow, what a selfish chit. I’d understand it’s probably really hard to go through something and realize your child could possibly be a cold blooded killer, but he just did a complete turn around and was more preoccupied with himself and his nice new trophy girlfriend. It was just sickening. This was where I really felt for Val. She just lost her entire support network and had no one to rely on. On the other hand, this is where I really admired Jessica’s behavior. Despite being a previous tormentor of Val’s, she realized her actions and attempted to reach out to her, which I thought was the right thing to do and very brave of her to do so in front of her peers and the rest of the community.
I definitely recommend this book to anyone it’s a great read, it’s so well written you feel the emotions of the characters and it brings out a lot of conflicting emotions within the reader. It’s well worth the read considering the subject matter.
I give it a 10 out of 10
When Alex falls for the charming new boy at school, Cole — a handsome, funny, sports star who adores her — she can’t believe she’s finally found her soul mate . . . someone who truly loves and understands her. At first, Alex is blissfully happy. Sure, Cole seems a little jealous of her relationship with her close friend Zack, but what guy would want his girlfriend spending all her time with another boy? As the months pass, though, Alex can no longer ignore Cole’s small put-downs, pinches, or increasingly violent threats. As Alex struggles to come to terms with the sweet boyfriend she fell in love with and the boyfriend whose “love” she no longer recognizes, she is forced to choose — between her “true love” and herself. (From Amazon.ca)
This is one of the few contemporary YA books I’ve read and really enjoyed. (Usually I go into Paranormal or Fantasy). But the subject matter of this book got me curious as to how they address them for Teen readers. It really tackles the subject well. Alex is a great character, and thought she found everything she wanted in Cole, and I nearly fell for it too, he was very well done and his charming manipulative manner was something any girl could possibly fall for. It wasn’t until later when the reader does see his darker more violent side, that all of sudden he becomes so ugly and horrible that the reader wonders what was so great about him in the first place.
I felt for Alex, although I didn’t take too kindly how she just managed to drop her friends just like that for Cole – then again Cole sometimes did not give her much of a choice and at certain times, are we not guilty of doing that at least once in our lifetime once a boy/girlfriend moves into our lives? so in that sense, Alex is made into a very realistic character.
There were moments where you were just frustrated with Alex for still being with Cole – especially after such horrible treatment but you also sympathize with her, the isolation and helplessness can certainly be felt throughout the novel. I was very surprised at Alex’s sister. I didn’t like her at first but when she gave Alex a significant present it made do a complete turn around and I thought differently about her.
The plot was very well written. It had a nice pace and timing. All the characters were also well done which made this book a great reading experience. There was only one thing that did not sit well with me and that was the lack of history behind Alex’s mom. Something bad happened, and she just left…ok…but there has to be more than that right? there really was not much to this part of the story and I wonder if it really was all necessary to begin with?
It’s a hard subject to write about, but this book was well done and it’s worth reading. You do eventually support Alex with her decision and hope for the best for her on her road to healing and recovery. The ending is somewhat open ended but it was good enough to leave it the way it was. I recommend this for all YA readers, not just for a good read, but also to become aware of this sensitive subject and possibly help others they might know who might be going through what Alex did.
I give it a 10/10