Tuesday Tales: Hate List by Jennifer Brown (BOOK GIVEAWAY CONTEST!)
February 9, 2010 in Brown Jennifer, High School Teachers, Middle School Teachers, Tuesday Tales, Writing Skills, Young Adult Novels Tags: contemporary novel, Hate List, Jennifer Brown, School violence, ya novel
I am so happy to hold this contest on my blog today for Hate List by Jennifer Brown. I am IN LOVE with this book. It is perfect for tweens and teens, and I think all parents and teens should HAVE to read it. It’s great for a mother-daughter book club. So, I am going to give my copy away to a lucky winner. All you have to do is leave a comment about the book, about the photo I posted here (this is not the author, but this picture just reminded me of Hate List so I posted it), about high school, about your teenager or teaching teenagers, or a pick-me comment. Contest will close on the day we celebrate LOVE–February 14 at 8:00 pm CST.
*Young adult contemporary novel
*Senior girl as the main character
*Rating: Hate List will grab you from page one and keep you riveted until the end. It’s tragic and heartbreaking and shows there are no easy answers when it comes to being a teen. (Starred review from School Library Journal.)
Short, short summary: Valerie is getting ready to start her senior year in high school, which would normally be an exciting time for any girl. But this is not the case for Valerie. From page one, you learn that at the end of her junior year, her boyfriend Nick pulled a gun in the Commons and shot their classmates as revenge for the way he and Valerie were treated. Nick wound up shooting Valerie in the leg when she tried to stop him and then took his own life. Besides dealing with mental and physical pain, Valerie must also deal with the fact that many people at her high school and in her community (including her own family members) think she knew what Nick was planning and that she was a co-conspirator. Turns out, Valerie and Nick had a “hate list,” a notebook full of people they hated, and those same people were targets of the shooting. In Hate List, Jennifer Brown reveals what happened on that tragic day last May and how everyone is dealing with the aftermath. You follow Valerie through this book, hoping that somehow she can overcome one of the worst nightmares anyone has ever had to face.
So, what do I do with this book?
1. When you read a book like this with teenagers, they are bound to have strong opinions on Nick, Valerie, and the “bullies.” Some people will identify with Nick and Valerie; others will identify with the victims of the shooting. Brown does a good job of showing the reader that everything is not always as black and white as it seems, and I think this will bring out even stronger reader reactions because Brown has written a realistic book. Students and teens will need plenty of time to process, write about, and discuss this book. As a teacher or parent, you will want to give them space and time to express themselves without being hurtful to others. Set some ground rules, suggest students jot down notes or even free write before discussions take place, and try not to let it get too personal (as in naming teens) in your classroom. Students who need to talk personally could schedule a time with you, or you could put together a small group that you think would work for this type of discussion. Some themes to discuss: forgiveness, bullying, hate, divorce, honesty, and friendship.
2. Valerie uses art to help her through the healing process. You can do several things with this theme, depending on if you are using this book in a classroom, homeschool, or mother-daughter book club. In a smaller setting, you could give teens an opportunity to paint either while thinking about an extremely painful time in their lives or happy. Give them the freedom to paint whatever or however they want with materials you provide. In a classroom setting, you can ask students to write about what they do when they are really upset.
3. One question that Valerie asks herself over and over again is if Nick showed any warning signs that he was seriously going to bring a gun to school and kill people. While reading this book, it would be helpful to bring in a counselor or other professional who could talk to students or teens about what some of these warning signs might look like. Teenagers also need to know whom they can talk to if they are scared or want to report someone who might be planning something like Nick did. Often, friends know that something is wrong, but they don’t want their friends to get in trouble. Students need to feel safe to share information with adults, and that the “accused” student will not necessarily be punished but helped, too. Do your students and/or children know what to do in a situation like what happens in Hate List? (Before and during the shooting)
Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win this amazing book!