Goodreads: 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
I was reluctant to read this book due to all the school shootings lately and because I actually work at a school (university). My friend, Jade, recommended it but I was still pretty skeptical. I am not going to go into a massive review of it like she did – I don’t have that kind of energy. LOL
The book delves into relationships – boyfriend/girlfriend, schoolmates, and parents. What would you do if you made a list with someone – innocently enough at the time – that they use to kill people? How do you forgive yourself? How does your friends and family forgive you?
I think the father was more angry that he made it on the list than anything but that is just my personal feeling. I look at it and think – if my son had done that, I would not have reacted the way her family did. For one, practically every single child alive has said “I hate you” to their parents at one time or another – they don’t mean it and we, the adult parents, know they don’t mean it. So if I had made it on an innocent “hate” list I would have been hurt but I wouldn’t have taken it to heart. I disagreed with the father saying she contributed to the tragedy because she had no idea her boyfriend would use the list to kill people. We can’t be responsible for what other people do – if she had known he was going to do it, that would be different but she didn’t.
I am reminded of the movie “Hit List” with Cole Hauser and Cuba Gooding Jr where Cole’s character gets drunk and makes a “hit” list with a man he met at the bar. Cuba’s character tells Cole up front that he is a hitman but Cole doesn’t believe him. So is Cole’s character responsible when Cuba starts offing the people on the list? No, of course not. He was drunk and angry at the people – he didn’t expect or anticipate they would actually be killed.
So anyway, I had some issues with the book and the way the characters thought. The writing is very good and the book does hold you in its grip for the most part. It is not the kind of book I normally read and doubt I will read more by that author.
There is, of course, way more to the book than I am telling – it has many angles, emotions and twists that keep a person interested. I give the book an A but felt it fell just shy of an A+.