Hate List Book Review

Hate List by Jennifer Brown

405 Pages

Published September 1st, 2009

Published by: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Summary:
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

Goodreads Link

Review:

Hate List is an extremely powerful and compelling story, one which I would recommend to all ages.

The novel follows the character of Valerie as she returns to school, five months after her boyfriend, Nick, opened fire on their school cafeteria, killing and injuring many of their fellow students.

Although Valerie herself was injured defending another student, she is still somewhat implicated because of the list. The list she and Nick made of people they hated. The list Nick used to pick his targets.

I honestly felt for Valerie throughout the whole book. She was always prone to second guessing herself, never certain if she somehow indirectly coerced Nick into doing what he did, but at the same time battling with her feelings for him.

It almost seems expected by those around her that she should hate Nick, but no one takes a second to realise that they were in love, and that is something that doesn’t die within a few months. It’s almost as if no one realises that she is grieving for not only Nick but also the people he murdered, Valerie will always be one of those characters that I feel sorry for because it is like she can’t win… all she ever wanted was for her and Nick to be accepted but sadly Nick wasn’t as strong as her.

Hate List reminded me a lot of my own high school experience. No, we didn’t have a killer at my school, but isn’t every school the same? The kids who walk around thinking they are better than everyone else even though others have done nothing to deserve the way they are treated. I was bullied in high school, and looking back I realise that it was always ‘acceptable’ for those who were popular to belittle someone that wasn’t in the same social group… almost as if it was the norm.

Through the use of flashbacks Brown creates a story that is emotionally driven and very relatable. The flashbacks really allow you to see the incident through Nick’s perspective who after years of taunting and abuse pretty much just cracks, I do not think his actions can ever be justified but they can definitely be understood… you might think I am crazy for even slightly defending him but being a victim of bullying, I know that not everyone is strong enough to get through it.

I loved watching Valerie’s journey to redemption from the beginning of the story to the end. She is such a strong girl and watching her get even stronger was really beautiful :

Overall, Hate List is a well written story and an obvious 5*, as it touches upon real issues that at some point I think everyone can relate to.

Rating: 5*

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Top Ten Most Anticipated YA Books For This Year

Everyone always does a most anticipated list at the beginning of the year and then just gives the latter part of the year no recognition at all, but there are so many amazing YA books coming out later on this year that I am looking forward to purchasing and reading. So I just thought I would compile a shortlist of some of the ones I am most excited about and share it with you guys.

NEW BOOKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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Book Summary:

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Publication date: 1st September

Published by: Delacorte

2.The Lost Girl by R.L.Stine

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Book Summary:

New student Lizzy Palmer is the talk of Shadyside High. Michael and his girlfriend Pepper befriend her, but the closer they get to her, the stranger she seems… and the more attractive she is to Michael. He invites her to join him on a snowmobile race that ends in a tragic accident. Soon, Michael’s friends start being murdered, and Pepper becomes convinced that Lizzy is behind the killings. But to her total shock, she and Michael are drawn into a tragic story of an unthinkable betrayal committed over 60 years ago.

Publication date: September 29th

Published by: St Martin’s Press

3. Another Day by David Levithan

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Book Summary:

Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.

Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person . . . wasn’t Justin at all. *Sidenote~this is actually the second book in the series, the first is titled every day.

Publication Date: August 25th

Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers

4. Lair of Dreams by Libra Bray

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Book Summary:

After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to ‘read’ objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, ‘America’s Sweetheart Seer’. But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners’ abilities . . .

Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?

5. Monsters by Emerald Fennel

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Book Summary:

A blackly comic tale about two children you would never want to meet.

Set in the Cornish town of Fowey, all is not as idyllic as the beautiful seaside town might seem. The body of a young woman is discovered in the nets of a fishing boat. It is established that the woman was murdered. Most are shocked and horrified. But there is somebody who is not – a twelve-year-old girl. She is delighted; she loves murders. Soon she is questioning the inhabitants of the town in her own personal investigation. But it is a bit boring on her own. Then Miles Giffard, a similarly odd twelve-year-old boy, arrives in Fowey with his mother, and they start investigating together. Oh, and also playing games that re-enact the murders. Just for fun, you understand… *Sidenote- I first heard of this book at YALC when I saw it on HotKeyBooks stand. Unfortunately, I couldn’t buy it because I had run out of money LOOOL, the life of being a broke book addict.

Publication date: 3rd September 2015

Published By: HotKeyBooks

6. The Big Lie by Julie Mayhew

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Book Summary:

A startling coming-of-age novel set in a contemporary Nazi England.

Jessika Keller is a good girl: she obeys her father, does her best to impress Herr Fisher at the Bund Deutscher Mädel meetings and is set to be a world champion ice skater. Her neighbour Clementine is not so submissive. Outspoken and radical, Clem is delectably dangerous and rebellious. And the regime has noticed. Jess cannot keep both her perfect life and her dearest friend. But which can she live without?

Publication Date: August 27th

Published By: HotKeyBooks

7. The Next Together by Lauren James

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Book Summary:

How many times can you lose the person you love?

Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated.

Spanning the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the near-future of 2019 and 2039 they find themselves sacrificing their lives to save the world. But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace?

Publication date: September 3rd

Published by: Walker Books

8. The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

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Book Summary:

Part-psychological thriller, part-urban legend, this is an unsettling narrative made up of diary entries, interview transcripts, film footage transcripts and medical notes. Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Three people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . .

Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diary reveal a web of deceit and intrigue, violence and murder, raising a whole lot more questions than it answers.

Who was Kaitlyn and why did she only appear at night? Did she really exist or was she a figment of a disturbed mind? What were the illicit rituals taking place at the school? And just what did happen at Elmbridge in the events leading up to ‘the Johnson Incident’?

Publication Date: August 6th

Published by: Orion Children’s Books

9. Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics

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Book Summary:

When sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner’s family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly Ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries.

When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn’t right on the prairie. She’s heard stories of lands being tainted by evil, of men losing their minds and killing their families, and there is something strange about the doctor and his son who live in the woods on the edge of the prairie. But with the guilt and shame of her sins weighing on her, Amanda can’t be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or deep within her soul

Publication date: September 29th

Published by: Harlequin Teen

10. Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown

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Book Summary:

Samantha Donaldson’s family has always done its duty for the British Crown. In the midst of World War I, seventeen-year-old Sam follows in their footsteps, serving her country from the homefront as a Girl Guide and messenger for the intelligence organization MI5. After her father disappears on a diplomatic mission, she continues their studies of languages, high-level mathematics, and complex puzzles and codes, hoping to make him proud.

When Sam is asked to join the famed women’s spy group La Dame Blanche she’s torn—this could be the adventure she’s dreamed of, but how can she abandon her mother, who has already lost a husband to the war? But when her handlers reveal shocking news, Sam realizes there’s no way she can refuse the exciting and dangerous opportunity.

Her acceptance leads her straight into the heart of enemy territory on a mission to extract the most valuable British spy embedded in Germany, known to the members of LDB only as Velvet. Deep undercover within the court of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Samantha must navigate the labyrinthine palace and its many glamorous—and secretive—residents to complete her assignment. To make matters worse she finds herself forming a forbidden attraction to the enemy-a dangerously handsome German guard. In a place where personal politics are treacherously entangled in wartime policy, can Samantha discover the truth and find Velvet before it’s too late…for them both?

Publication date: October 20th

Published by: Balzer and Bray

We Were Liars Book Review

We Were Liars by E.LockhartWeWereLiars__140612011956-575x883

Publication: May 13th, 2014 by Delacorte Press

225 Pages

Genre: Young Adult/Romance/Suspense Thriller

Summary:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE

Goodreads Link

Review:

I initially read this book because my friend kept pestering me to and I wanted her to shut up but I love love love this book, it is so emotionally driven and remarkably written and I am so grateful to my little buttercup for telling me about this book. Also word to the wise, do not read this book and then attempt to sneak peek at other pages or read spoilers because it will spoil your experience. The twists in this book are enough to turn anyone grey, don’t add anymore pressure to yourself. Please, I am begging you.

We Were Liars focuses on the affairs of a very rich and privileged New England family… The Sinclair’s. The main protagonist Cadence describes the family as “Old-money Democrats, with square chins and wide smiles.” At the head of this family lies Harris Sinclair- Cadence’s grandfather and a man “drunk on power.”

The story follows the lives of Mirren Sinclair, Johnny Sinclair, Cadence Sinclair and Gatil Patel (a boy whose connection to Cadence threatens to blow the family apart)… Together the four make the Liars, a close-knit group who are considered “trouble” by the adults around them, yet their sympathetic outlook to the rest of the world suggests that the only threat they pose is empathy. (” Be a little kinder than you have to”)

Through Lockhart’s use of vivid imagery and metaphoric language, she presents an insight into a family that is so fuelled by capitalism and luxury that they fail to see the world around them, it is almost as if society begins and ends on their Beechwood Island, just off Martha’s vineyard. The adults in the story only mirror this, with the liars often retelling tales of their parents alcoholism issues , fights over fortune and prejudiced views.

Words cannot describe how much I connected to Cadence because her situation is just so sad.  She is the girl who pretty much has everything, yet is in such pain. I can not tell you the amount of times I cried for Cadence, I’m sure my poor book still has tear stains from my endless hours of sobbing. It just really makes you realize that money doesn’t buy happiness and that it would be foolish of us to assume so.

Me reading every chapter

I crushed hard on Gat because he just came across as this delicate, pure soul who sees the world as a whole, rather than a fragment of an aristocracy. That probably has something to do with the fact that he wasn’t brought up in that lifestyle so he is meant to reflect us mere mundanes who understand that not every one has the same opportunities in life. He is the only one out of the liars who isn’t afraid to speak out against Harris or call the others out on their judge-mental BS, I love him A LOT… I may be in love with a fictional character but its okay because we will be together in spirit and in my dreams , and for now I give Cadence permission to have him.

The other characters; Mirren and Johnny were a bit meh. I liked them, don’t get me wrong but I found it hard to connect to them both on the same level that I did Cadence and Gat. I am not sure if this is because I mentally and emotionally got so attached to the others, but I just couldn’t connect, which was frustrating but that happens I guess.

There was also this really cool thing I loved where Cadence took fairy-tales and adapted them to the story so that it fitted in with a situation she was going through. But they were not your average boy meets girl in need-saves her-falls in love-the end… they were more like fables as they actually had meaning and a valid lesson at the end of it. Needless to say, I loved them. I actually just finished writing them in my diary because I want to read them every day: in the car,  in class, on the toilet *TMI much* hehe  P.s if you want to look for them they are usually towards the end of the chapter, except they aren’t in every chapter. I think they start from chapter 16.

Overall, I would recommend We Were Liars to anyone who enjoys suspense and poetic writing. It is also a really quick read so perfect for the holidays. Comment below if you have read it 🙂

Rating: 5*

Xoxo

Savi

Best Of Me~Nicholas Sparks

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You have the Best Of Me….

They were teenage sweethearts from opposite sides of the tracks-with a passion that would change their lives for ever. But life would force them apart.

Years later, the lines between past and present are about to slip…called back to their hometown for the funeral of the mentor who gave them shelter when they needed it most, they are faced with each other once again.

Can true love ever rewrite the past?


The Best Of Me written by Nicholas Sparks is a beautifully written romance novel that will pull at all the appropriate heartstrings and leave you speechless.

The novel follows Dawson Cole and Amanda Collier, teenage sweethearts who were once bound by a love so powerful, until such love drove them apart. However, fast forward twenty-five years later when the two meet again after the death of their beloved mentor and find themselves embroiled in a much familiar love affair.

The story of Dawson and Amanda is so touching to watch as Spark’s written ability makes it hard not to fall in love with each of them as each chapter passes. Dawson is a complex character who has cheated death so many times, he could be considered immortal. His love for Amanda never subsided, therefore seeing her after years of absence brings back all the feelings he once had. Whereas, Amanda has built a career and a family since leaving Dawson all those years ago and isn’t sure if she should risk her marriage for a long-awaited encounter with Dawson.

The Best of Me is Sparks’ seventeenth novel following the theme of both love and heartbreak. It is a moving story, but one cannot expect any less from the mastermind behind The Notebook and A Walk to Remember. Furthermore, one of the pleasures of reading a Sparks novel is that it does not matter whether you are a first time reader or an avid one, as no two books are the same so you are given the chance to fall in love with him all over again.

I would recommend The Best Of Me to anyone who is a fan of romance novels, or simply looking to branch out and would rate it 5/5 as it took me on an emotional rollercoaster throughout.