Sunday, October 10, 2010

Gateway 10: Hate List by Jennifer Brown

This was a really good book. It really hit hard on the school shooting topic. It also focused in on the bullying issue. The main thing that I really liked about this book, is how it takes place from the point of view of the shooter's girlfriend. The person who actually started the "hate list". The story follows her, Valerie, through going back to school the year after it happens. We get flashbacks to each moment as it happened in May. But we also get to see how the other students are dealing with it. We see how her family, which was actually screwed up to begin with, and possibly part of the reason the hate list started, is completely finished by this. I think a good point is to think of how this shooter was thought of by his fellow students before all this happened. How people had no idea he was going to do it. And how the very day it happened, Valerie had been bullied by her biggest antagonizer. The ending is very touching. I also like that it looks at how the principal of the school tries to say that all the students have all changed and become like a family and that there is no more bullying or treating other students poorly. Which is wrong. I think schools often try to cover things, or at least I think I can totally see this happening. There are things that have happened in my district, that I wonder how they never made the news, when around the same time, you hear about the same type of issue happening in other districts on the news.

Anyway, I am going to hopefully have that as my next staff rec at the book store. I was also extremely interested to learn that the author is a good friend of a friend that I teach with. With some of the bullying issues going on at my school currently, it might be good to have her come in and speak to the kids. I wish I could read this book with my students, I think they could really learn from it. But I'm guessing a school shooting book would not be considered appropriate to read to 8th graders.