Publisher: Little, Brown
Publishing Date: Sept 2009
Format: paperback, purchased
Buy Links: Amazon | B&N
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 shooting because of the list she helped created. 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.
I've been wanting to read a book by Jennifer Brown for quite some time because I've seen so many bloggers post about her work! I am very glad that I finally ordered one of her books and read it. I wasn't sure what to quite expect with this story, other than it involves a school shooting. However, despite that being how many people describe what the book is about, it's not completely true. Sure, it revolves around a school shooting, but its about more than that; it's about love, hate, and forgiveness. Val was implicated in the school shooting because of the list she and Nick made. But she never intended for anything to happen to those people; it was a way for her to vent about things that made her angry. Maybe it wasn't the best way to do things, but it happened, and she had no control over the way Nick took that list to mean.
This book is about Val's search to figure out how to move on with her life. This includes accepting her role in the shooting, even if only by association. She struggles to go back to school and try to resume her life. But this also helps her grow to become a stronger person who knows what she wants in life and can become a better person. I thought this book was very well written. Brown does an amazing job portraying the struggles that everyone faces in light of the shooting. I also liked the characters as well; I thought Val was easy to identify with. She didn't belong to a certain group in high school, kind of a loner and outcast. I thought the supporting characters, like her mom, brother, and new friends were great as well. The only person I couldn't stand was Val's father. He was really only concerned with himself and never took the opportunity to speak with Val about what happened. Ahh! He was awful to her!
Overall, very good book that made me tear up at the end (: